Film review: Storage 24By Kim Francis
July 04, 2012
Actor Noel Clarke’s reputation as a promising British directing talent isn’t unfounded, but it may come as a surprise to learn he’s actually only directed two films.
It is, in fact, in the writing arena where Clarke has been prolifically plying his trade and making his lauded mark, having first come to widespread attention with his screenplay for gritty British drama Kidulthood.
Having then written and directed its sequel, Adulthood, following up with the unrelated but thematically similar 18.104.22.168, he has (for now at least) left Brit grit well and truly behind to pick up his pen and dust off his acting hat for the darkly comic science-fiction horror Storage 24, leaving directing duties to Johannes Roberts.
Whether inspired by Joe Cornish’s innovative Attack the Block, or just coincidentally samey, Storage 24 is nevertheless part of a burgeoning genre that blends British sensibilities and humour with an outlandish horror premise.
Think Shaun of the Dead, Severance and The Cottage as well as Attack the Block – all of these share plenty in common but also contribute something new.
While Storage 24 is moderately entertaining however, it certainly doesn’t bring its A-game to the party.
It’s tautly directed, true, and makes the best of its single location setting, keeping tension coiled like a spring while proceedings motor along, but Clarke’s screenplay is derivative and the film feels outdated.
Though it references certain well-known movies including Alien, it isn’t funny or clever enough to be a biting send-up of Hollywood monster flicks as Clarke may have intended.
At heart, Storage 24 is actually a romantic comedy drama where the downtrodden normal guy proves his mettle by eventually getting down and dirty and saving the day.
The film’s concentration on this aspect probably has a lot to do with its comic failings – the funniest characters are those who exist outside the love story; the male receptionist, the visiting electrician and the loony that lives there.
Otherwise, and problematically, Clarke’s character is the only one with whom we identify. Not enough attention is paid to developing the majority of the rest of the characters, most of whom have few good lines.
As a British film, you can never quite be certain where the film might go but as it nears its end, you realise it is set to finish precisely where you’d expect a Hollywood version to end up, which leaves you feeling a little short-changed.
The film’s other failings aside, if only the script had been funnier we’d be looking at something altogether more palatable.