Quite a tidy, enjoyable movie, this one. Limited in scope, but not in ambition, by working with a small budget, Storage 24 gives itself firm parameters to live within, and contents itself to do so. But, as a consequence, those constraints helps the movie. Rather than bite off more than it can proverbially chew, the effective screenplay devotes a generous amount of its duration to spending time with its characters, and chooses the moments when it most needs to unleash the movie’s monster on them. That’s exactly how it should be.
What’s more, Storage 24 is that rarest of things: a big screen, broad monster movie, conceived and shot in Britain. It’s from the head of the ever-industrious Noel Clarke, who penned the original script, and produces and stars in the film. He’s a good lead, too, as Charlie. When we meet him, he’s sat in a car with his best friend Mark, having just being dumped by his long-term girlfriend. They’re on their way to a storage facility to gather his belongings – where, of course, his ex-girlfriend, Shelley, and her friends Nikki and Chris are also gathered – but it doesn’t take long at all for a problem to hit.
Or, more to the point, to collide. A reported plane crash right at the start of the film is the catalyst here, and it just happens to drop the aforementioned monster of the piece into the very storage facility that everyone is happening to converge on.
It gives Storage 24 a single location to work with, and it’s to the credit of director Johannes Roberts – who’s clearly worked his way through a substantive genre back catalogue before picking up his camera – that he stretches the most out of it he can. Roberts’ particular skill here, though, is his deployment of sound, and his respect of silence. Granted, Storage 24 lacks a genuinely good jump, but it does generate on ongoing sense of unease, and the excellent audio work is a good contributor to that.
So is the collection of characters. It’s not a particularly likeable lot, all be told, and it’s hard to find anyone outside of Charlie to root for. But there’s enough friction and development between most of them to make spending time in their company interesting enough. Their conversations and generally awkwardness around each other are interjected with countless power cuts and loud noises for good measure.
Roberts keeps his creature in the dark for as long as he possibly can, too, and there’s an inevitable turning point in the film when it’s revealed out in the open for the first time. It’s a solid piece of creature design, too, but a tangible monster is unsurprisingly less interesting than the noises, and the quick flashes of it we get beforehand. Even once we’ve met it properly for the first time, the film is reluctant to bring it out into the open, in full-focus, any more than it needs to.
Storage 24 zips along entertainingly, with one eye on the clock, and it’s wary of outstaying its welcome. As it is, the ride comes to a stop just as it’s starting to drag a little, a few minutes shy of an hour and a half. For most of that running time, though, all concerned have crafted a solid, decent movie, that might not have enough in the tank to have you leaping out of your seat. But there’s certainly enough there to reward the purchase of a cinema ticket. More like this, please.