A suspected military plane crashes in London and an empty cargo container previously home to an alien creature lies nearby a storage facility in South London. Blissfully unaware of this, Charlie (Noel Clarke) is heading to the warehouse to confront ex-girlfriend Shelley - who is sorting through their stored possessions - and to ascertain exactly why she dumped him. Shelley had brought along two friends for moral support and together with Charlie and his best mate Mark they all become trapped in the warehouse when the power fails and the security shutters go into emergency lockdown. The atmosphere is tense enough between the protagonists even before it becomes clear there is something else locked in there with them: something big, slimy and vicious...
With a budget “8 times less than Attack the Block” (according to co-writer, co-producer and lead actor Noel Clarke), Storage 24 (or ‘Attack the Lock-up’ if you prefer), knows it’s limits but plays to its low-budget strengths and doesn't short change the audience with either creature effects, gore or jump moments.
Noel Clarke’s original concept for the alien was originally inspired by one of Spiderman’s comic book enemies: ‘Carnage’. The final onscreen creature, designed by Paul Hyatt, is a blend of practical effects i.e. a man in a monster suit on stilts with a bit of CGI mapped onto the design. It reminded me of the creature Eric Stoltz’s character finally transforms into in Chris Walas’ The Fly II - albeit this time with added teeth and tentacles.
The cast acquit themselves very well with what appears initially to be a very simple set-up with little scope for character development. The themes of betrayal and the breakdown of relationships become increasingly influential as the mayhem ensues and no one escapes without being scarred – either emotionally or physically.The director states John Carpenter as a major influence for this film, but there’s other films being referenced here too. One sequence where Charlie lifts his head up through a storage hatch in the ceiling to see if anything is crawling above them is clearly an homage to a similar scene in Aliens. As in Attack the Block, fireworks yet again feature in the defence against the alien menace, but despite the limited budget, there is still originality at work here. One prime example being the significance of a tiny yapping toy dog.
The final shot somewhat ambitiously sets up the distinct possibility for a sequel. However, this was not quite the commercial calculation it may first appear. The original scripted ending was beyond the limits of the film’s tight-budget – so an enforced rethink ironically resulted in a more spectacular premise.