Written, produced and starring Noel Clarke, Johannes Roberts’ Storage 24 (2012) is set against the backdrop of a military cargo crash in London. When its highly classified contents are let loose upon the capital, the sky becomes awash with thick black smog and mild panic spreads across the city. Unaware of events, Charlie (Clarke) makes his way to a storage facility, where ex-girlfriend Shelley (Antonia Campbell-Hughes) is finalising their relationship by dividing their possessions. As Charlie arrives, the power in the building dies and the secure facility goes on lock-down. Predictably, it’s not long before all parties realise that they are not alone.
From the off, the prolific Clarke’s screenplay reveals itself as deeply wanting. Words seem to be simply put into actors’ mouths, with almost all of the characters one dimensional and each circumstance coming across as embarrassingly formulaic. There’s zero chemistry between the couple nor within their circle of friends, which in turn makes the feature look entirely amateur. In addition, Clarke’s self-penned hero Charlie is acted with such abhorrent arrogance that his corny one-liners can only really be heard as cocky self indulgence.
Any viewer who has witnessed the dissection of the horror genre in the Scream franchise or the recent The Cabin in the Woods (2011) may well find it hard to settle for the predictability of Storage 24 and its tenuous attempts at scares. For no reason characters wander into pitch black rooms following suspicious taps and bangs and repeatedly shouting “Hello?” in the face of abandoned mannequins until something finally makes them jump. Another sits on a toilet asking “Is anyone there?” for what seems like an eternity, then terror comes in the form of a light switching on and off (this happens on countless occasions and is not once terrifying).
When the shoe-horned introduction of an apparently ‘crazy’ character, who actually resides in the facility comes along, you are struck by how remarkably infantile it all is, as if it was ripped straight out of Scooby-Doo’s daft book of boo. Little is known of the alien, like its origins or how it got inside the building. What we do find out though, is that it looks like the monster from Matt Reeves’ Cloverfield (2008), so you can tell where the budget was spent, and it enjoys hurting people. Inadvertently, you end up rooting for the monster.
Storage 24 sadly offers nothing new. It’s not scary enough to be a horror and lacks the necessary knowledge of the genre to be considered true science fiction. While it sets out to emulate the Alien cycle and/or Joe Cornish’s well-received Attack the Block (2011), the film only really succeeds in regurgitating tropes and stereotypes until its whimpering climax. Avoid Storage 24, and its unintentionally laughable ending, lest this monster of a film rips out your heart and leaves you feeling claustrophobic, depressed and soulless.