Storage 24 is like Doctor Who without all the things that make Doctor Who great

Probably the main reason why anybody's aware of Storage 24, the new British monster movie, is the Doctor Who connection. Star and co-writer Noel Clarke played Mickey Smith in the first two seasons of nuWho, and the movie's setup feels very Who as well: people trapped in a claustrophobic space, being hunted by an alien monster one by one.

So it's kind of a letdown when you actually watch Storage 24, and not only is it kind of a weak movie, it's also clear Clarke and friends didn't learn anything from Doctor Who. Spoilers ahead...


Actually, Storage 24 is pretty much a spoiler-proof movie. I already described the plot before the spoiler warning. There's a storage facility, and a monster, and some gooey violence, which is mercifully CG-free.

The most spoilery thing I'm going to say about it is this: you should just watch the final half hour. The whole movie is 86 minutes long, and approximately the first 54 minutes are kind of bleh. At about 00:54:00, the monster movie shit kicks into high gear and it becomes a watchable, if not great, horror film. I wouldn't recommend watching Storage 24 all the way through. It's like the opposite of A.I.

So here are three lessons from Doctor Who that I feel like Storage 24 failed to take on board:


1) At some point, we need to learn more about the alien menace.
While I was watching this film, I kept thinking of the "Aliens of London/World War Three" two-parter, where a lot of the action involves Mickey, Rose and the Doctor figuring out who these aliens really are and what they want. The whole scene where the Doctor narrows down which planet they're from based on a bunch of clues is one of my favorite things Russell T. Davies did. (Even with all the farting and weird fatphobia.) At some point, the alien monster gets boring unless we learn more about its goals and weaknesses.

2) The most compelling special effect is good characters.
Or at least, it helps if you don't root for everybody in the movie to die horribly. This is one of those movies where all the characters are completely terrible human beings, which is one reason why I advocate skipping the first 54 minutes — that's when most of the "character" "development" happens.


3) The monsters and aliens reveal something about humanity
This isn't always true, but it's true often enough. The monsters either prey on a human character flaw, or their lack of humanity reveals something about what it means to be human. Human weakness, often as not, turns out to be a strength when viewed correctly, on Doctor Who. And Storage 24 makes an attempt at comparing the monster to humanity, but it's mostly a couple of the male characters commenting that the monster is like their ex-girlfriends or ex-wives. Which is why the movie's garnered accusations of being misogynistic — but I don't know if that's misogyny or just weak writing.


It doesn't help that director Johannes Roberts only has a few tricks in his bag: like panning across the long, spooky rows of storage units. Or showing extreme close-ups of a character's eye, whenever he wants to convey that things are getting creepy. The soundtrack is actually quite catchy and dramatic, and often carries the energy and tension that the film is otherwise mostly lacks.


In any case, like I said, if you only watch the last half hour, give or take, this is a decent enough film. There are some entertaining sequences with Clarke and friends figuring out that they're under attack from an other-worldly monster and looking for a way to survive. And if you skip the first 50-odd minutes, you won't be quite as invested in wanting every loathsome character to be disemboweled in front of you.

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