"Those storage places are creepy at the best of times..."
Having fought off hoodlums on the streets of West London in Kidulthood, Noel Clarke has turned his attentions to a different type of force, taking on aliens in his science fiction thriller Storage 24.
Clarke - who also wrote the film - plays Charlie, who alongside his best friend Mark (Colin O'Donoghue) has ventured to a storage warehouse to pick up some of his belongings, as he has recently been cast off by his now ex-girlfriend Shelley (Antonia Campbell-Hughes). However, upon their arrival they are greeted by Shelley and her friends Nikki (Laura Haddock) and Chris (Jamie Thomas King) who just so happen to be there for the exact same reason. Charlie and Shelley are in no position to be in the same room together, but unfortunately for them, they soon realise they have little choice in the matter.
The shutters are down and firmly locked and there appears to be no escape from the sizeable warehouse. There had been an electrician brought in to fix the problem, but as his dead body is discovered torn in half, the group realise they are dealing with a rather dangerous being, and it soon transpires than an alien is on the loose, and is seemingly content to kill them off one by one. Charlie and Shelley may not see eye to eye but they are soon aware that in order to survive this ordeal and escape from Storage 24, they're going to have to work together...
Directed by Johannes Roberts, Storage 24 offers an extremely simplistic narrative, of a group of people stuck inside a building that just so happens to be under attack by an alien invasion. In other words, it's a knock-off Alien. Yet Clarke has tapped in to a similar naturalistic edge that Attack the Block masterfully achieved, by placing these ordinary characters off the streets, and sticking them within highly surreal surroundings, making an otherwise intangible situation, somewhat identifiable. The setting is also well picked, as those storage places are creepy at the best of times.
Where Storage 24 excels is where you would least expect it to, which is within the antagonist itself; the alien. Despite being a traditionally stereotypical alien we have grown accustom to seeing in films, it does look fantastic and due to being a man in a costume, has an intimidating, realistic feel to it. It's well implemented also as for the first half of the feature we barely see a glimpse of it, and it remains a mysterious figure. Yet as soon as it's revealed Clarke and Roberts give it some personality - highlighted within the scene where it becomes transfixed by a toy dog.
However there is a lack of focus on the alien itself which is a shame, as presenting the situation from the alien’s point of view and its perceptions of humans is just as fascinating as the humans’ perceptions of the alien and this could be explored further. Also, the dangerous creature has evidently read the script as it seems to know who to kill and who not to, killing off the supporting cast no problem, but dubiously dwelling on our protagonists, allowing them time to escape.
Clarke is impressive as our lead, somewhat of a surprise in a sense, as Noel Clarke taking on aliens hadn't filled me with too much hope prior to seeing this film. Yet he isn't as hot headed as he can often be, and instead more humble, yet holding on to the quintessential action hero elements of audacity, and a daring inclination to put his own life at risk for others. All of which is presented alongside a brilliant tongue-in-cheek humour, also a vital ingredient in the perfect action lead. The supporting cast, however, are mostly forgettable, especially O'Donoghue, clearly doing his best impression of Michael Fassbender, though lord knows he is not an easy actor to emulate.
Storage 24 is good fun and easy viewing, if a little predictable. It's lacking in the social, political awareness and significance that comes with Attack the Block, but it is entertaining nonetheless. In Britain we tend not to do many genre films, particularly science fiction, and although this picture isn't that good, it's worth paying money to see as the more money this makes, the more likely it becomes we can expand on the genre and grow in such a field, and who knows, maybe one day, compete with Hollywood.