Directed in England by Johannes Roberts, 2013's Storage 24 isn't really a movie that's likely to win any awards for originality, but it is a fun monster movie set in, as the title implies, a giant storage facility. When the movie begins, folks all over the place are going about their daily business as folks all over the place are apt to do. This seemingly average day becomes decidedly unusual when a military plane carrying an undisclosed cargo explodes over top of London. Some of the debris has scattered around the area, specifically a metal container covered in some sort of icky residue.
So now, basically stuck, we meet a few characters, all of whom center around a massive self storage building. A newly single guy named Charlie (Noel Clarke) and his friend Mark (Colin O'Donoghue) head over there look for the girl who dumped him, Shelly (Antonia Campbell-Hughes). She's there, of course, and so too are her friends Nikki (Laura Haddock) and Chris (Jamie Thomas King) and the last thing she wants to do is deal with Charlie. As they're there and the drama starts to unfold, however, things take a different turn. Whatever it was that got the icky residue all over that metal container seems to have wandered into the storage building looking for a place to hide and maybe something to eat. Wouldn't you know it, when the electricity fails in the building, the lights go out and the locks are triggered, meaning everyone is stuck inside... right where the strange beastie wants them. Of course, this means that all involved will wind up in a fight for their lives against an enemy intent on killing and which they know nothing about. Now might be a good time to put the bickering aside and work together...
So yeah, this one borrows bits and pieces from other monster movies - Alien, Predator, Feast, The Descent... the list goes on. That doesn't mean you can't have some fun with this one, however. The creature design work is pretty interesting and well done, the effects crew have done pretty decent work here as the monster is alien enough looking to instill some fear in the audience upon first glance. Some questionable CGI is used in a few spots and it sticks out like a sore thumb when it appears, but most of the time the effects work is done the old fashioned way and the movie is all the better for it. The story is simple enough and the set up works just fine: characters are given enough personality that we can tell them apart and pick our favorites. Of course, the plot goes far enough towards making us like Charlie and Shelly that was at least sort of want to see them make amends and put aside their differences, even if it's temporarily in order to get out of the storage facility without being made into an alien's lunch. The supporting players are there mostly for comic relief and/or alien fodder but they each get a couple of moments to shine. This means that they're slightly more than just standard background types and a somewhat predictable but no less effective plot twist helps add a bit of drama when the movie calls for it.
Overall the performances are pretty good. The cast are convincing enough and deliver their work here effectively not only in the scenes of tensions and horror but also the more dramatic aspects of the movie and the sporadic moments of humor that are scattered throughout the movie. On top of this, the filmmakers do a good job of exploiting the location that they've based the story around. The massive self storage building, with the lights off, becomes a sprawling maze which lends ample opportunity to the monster to skulk around and hide and slither and do all of those things that slimy monsters do when left to their own devices in areas like this. What is, during the day, a fairly boring spot to be becomes a playground for the filmmakers to conjure up some solid tension and a couple of good kill scenes. Not surprisingly, there are times when we're asked to suspend our disbelief maybe a little more than we want to and there are times where the film's modest budget hampers the effectiveness of certain moments, but overall Roberts and company have created a fun little monster movie with this one.The Blu-ray:
Storage 24 arrives on Blu-ray in AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 1.85.1 widescreen. The movie looks like it's had some post production color tinkering done in order to darken the image a bit, particularly in the last twenty minutes or so, but detail is generally good in spite of this. We don't see a whole lot of noise outside of a few sporadic shots, and there are no issues with any noticeable dirt or debris. Colors generally look good despite the tendency to lean towards the darker side of the spectrum and an overreliance on blue, while black levels stay pretty strong, showing only a few minor compression artifacts in some of the darker scenes. There are no problems with noise reduction or edge enhancement to note and clarity and detail are about as good as it would appear the source material will allow for.Sound:
The only audio option on the disc is an English language DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track, though optional subtitles are provided in both English and Spanish. This is a pretty aggressive and well thought out mix, offering plenty of effective use of the surround channels during a few key scenes and offering properly balanced levels throughout. The score sounds rich and surprisingly deep and the effects are mixed in with enough depth and punch to work but not so much that they bury the performers and the dialogue. As you'd expect from such a recent movie as this, there are no issues with any hiss or distortion. All in all, this isn't quite as aggressive as some tracks out there nor is it reference quality in terms of how it envelopes the listener but it's very good nevertheless and quite impressive in its own right.Extras:
Writer Noel Clarke and Director Johannes Roberts start the extras off with a decent audio commentary that covers pretty much all of the basics - the origins of the story, casting choices, their thoughts on the performances and effects and the locations used in the movie. They talk about different ideas that were bounced around during production and offer up some interesting stories about getting things just the way that they wanted in the final cut of the movie. It's a decent, well paced track that proves to be fairly interesting. There are also four quick scene commentaries - one a piece for Noel Clarke, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Colin O'Donoghue, and Geoff Bell, all of whom offer up some quick thoughts on a key scene that they were involved in.
Also pretty solid is the forty-four minute long making of featurette. There's a lot of emphasis here on the set design and the creature design and the effects related to those two aspects of the production. Some interesting behind the scenes footage is included here as are some cast and crew interviews and this goes a long way towards showing us what went into shooting inside the storage locker used in the movie and some of the difficulties and challenges that presented. Noel Clarke, Laura Haddock, and Antonia Campbell-Hughes also contribute individually to ten minutes worth of video blogs shot on set during the production. these are moderately interesting as they give us a look at the production while it was still under way. A Day In The Life is a similar featurette that follows Noel Clarke and Colin O'Donoghue around the set for a day and shows us the in's and out's of their work on this particular project.
Rounding out the extras are seven minutes of deleted scenes, a photo gallery, a collection of trailers and promo spots for the feature, trailers and promos for other Magnolia releases, animated menus and chapter selection. All of the extras on this release are presented in high definition.Final Thoughts:
Storage 24 doesn't really bring anything new to the monster movie game but it's got a few decent scenes of tensions, some enjoyable enough effects work and it makes solid use of a good location. It's far from a classic but it's passable enough entertainment, a fun time killer. Magnolia's Blu-ray looks and sounds pretty decent and it contains plenty of extras as well. Monster movie diehards can consider this recommended, maybe a better rental for the mass audience out there. Fun, but not essential.