In a storage bunker, no one can hear you scream, "why didn't I rent 'Alien' instead of this?"
Storage 24, a U.K. monster import on Blu-ray and DVD March 12, follows the Alien template without all that messy character development, smart dialogue and, you know, thrills.
The film's ingenuity starts and abruptly stops with its premise. A military plane crashes into a UK-based storage facility--think one of this generic places where people leave their stuff for weeks, even months, at a time. The plane's key cargo was one nasty creature, who is now running loose inside the titular Storage 24. The building's security system snapped into life after the crash, locking in both the monster and the poor souls unlucky enough to be visiting their stuff that day.
It's a perfectly sound structure on top of an original framing device, but nearly everything else in Storage 24 fails on all the fronts that matter.
The storage visitors are an unappealing bunch, and the romantic entanglements trotted out to sweeten the story leave a sour aftertaste. The dialogue is as dopey as you fear in a genre film, without that precious "so awful it's great" quality that could have elevated the film to cult status.
The beastie in question is interesting at first, but director Johannes Roberts unwisely lets us see far too much of it. When a film's FX team lacks the big bucks, it's best to show the main attraction in short glimpses, not lingering glamour shots.
The clever framing device is essentially jettisoned once the action sequences commence, leaving aside some potentially intriguing subplots that could have added texture and tension to the proceedings.
By the time the good guys enlist a toy dog to battle the enemy it's clear the film is heading to Campville. Yet the production never fully commits to that detour. Instead, we're left with sloppy storytelling that only reminds us with every frame how Alien remains a near-perfect movie achievement.
The home video release comes with so many extras you'd think the film truly was Alien incarnate, and not a throwaway horror effort. The best feature is the creature development material, an intensive look at how the movie's monster came to life. Surprise, surprise, it's mostly a man in a suit, a throwback technique that actually hearkens back to the original Alien.
Other Blu-ray extras include deleted scenes, a commentary from star/writer Noel Clarke and Roberts, video blogs, a Day in the Life featurette with Clarke and co-star Colin O'Donoghue and a photo reel.