Storage 24 (review)
Bitches Be Monsters
I was gonna let Storage 24 go with a simple lashing for being yet another cheap, obvious, easy ripoff of Alien, perhaps with a side of ranting about how I’m looking forward to someone being original in science fiction action horror again — oh glorious day, when there’s a new movie for lazy filmmakers to xerox over and over again for three decades. But then Storage 24 had to cross the line into misogy-wah! territory, and conflate an attack by an alien monster with an attack by mean ol’ bitches on innocent men who didn’t do nothin’ to deserve it. Oh, sure, alien monsters can hurt a guy, but that’s peanuts to what women can do.
Someone was FedExing an alien monster, see — probably the military — and the plane carrying the thing crashes smack dab in the middle of London, and the thing escapes from its shipping crate. It’s kinda like Super 8, but with less production value: the crash happens entirely offscreen, for Storage 24 is an extremely low-budget affair. (Instead of making up for the lack of FX by being clever or innovative, it makes up for this by deploying Male Butthurt. Fear the day when Michael Bay realizes he can combine the two.) The monster takes refuge in a 24-hour storage center, you know, the kind that people use to chuck the stuff they don’t need until they have messy breakups with their significant others and then need to haul their stuff to a different, lonely singleton unit. Such as how Charlie (Noel Clarke: Fast Girls, Doctor Who) and Shelley (Antonia Campbell-Hughes: Bright Star) have to do now that she is chucking him out, and for no good reason that she will tell him. The bitch.
So here they are, Charlie and Shelley — along with his best friend, Mark (Colin O’Donoghue), and her friends Nikki (Laura Haddock) and Chris (Jamie Thomas King: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) — just as all hell is breaking loose outside and no one knows if London has just fallen victim to some sort of awful terrorist attack or what, but that doesn’t matter because The Bitch. And also never mind that we see that The Authorities in black SUVs so you know they’re badass government types arrive right at the very spot where the alien thing’s shipping crate landed near the Storage 24 place and then are never seen again. MI5’s version of Fox Mulder should have found the monster pretty much instantly, but if he had, we couldn’t have been blessed with the opportunity to watch the thing rampage around the storage place and provide a Metaphor for how a gal can rip a guy’s heart out by ripping guys’ hearts out.
Actually, probably we can assume that the alien is male, too, and probably left its/his planet to get away from some jxiurtfxc who broke its/his cardiac organ, because there’s one hilariously ridiculous bit where it/he’s got Shelley in its/his many-taloned paw and should have already sliced her into juliennes but it/he’s distracted by her long, pretty eyelashes. I shit you not. Even an alien monster on the run for its/his life on a strange planet and just looking to get in some nice juicy slaughtering of the monkey natives is suddenly totally lost when a skinny blonde primate with long eyelashes crosses its/his path.
This sort of puts to shame the usual sort of nonsense we’re supposed to suspend disbelief of when it comes to these sorts of movies, such as the sudden disappearance of the MI5 guys and how no one looks askance at the metal electrical equipment that looks like maybe it could have been ripped up by a polar bear on PCP (but certainly not a human being) and is dripping with icky goo the likes of which no human being would ever see unless an entire case of KY Jelly exploded. “What could it be?” “Who knows? Let’s go back to pretending that we haven’t seen Alien or any of the 10,945 Alien ripoffs over the past 30 years.”
Oh, it’s not just Charlie who’s suffering in a way that only women can make a man suffer. There’s also the crazy guy, David (Ned Dennehy: Anonymous), who lives in Storage 24 because — wait for it — his wife threw him out and broke his heart and stomped on his toys. The Bitch. The subplot serves to underscore the message, in case you’d missed it, about how being a man means doing things like rescuing your friends from alien monsters and not doing some other things that I won’t spoil, but you’ll know them because there will be some hamfisted dialogue about what being a man is all about. (It’s hard to imagine that Noel Clarke had a hand in writing this, not when he’s written other amazingly good stuff including Kidulthood and Fast Girls. Perhaps his far less experienced cowriters Davie Fairbanks and Marc Small are to blame.) And being a woman means wiping the toilet seat while using a public loo — director Johannes Roberts lingers on this in a way that can only make sense if it’s intended to make a statement — and destroying men sexually, romantically, and in all other ways by being nasty skanky betrayers.
I haven’t said: everyone is locked in the Storage 24 because the plane crash has wreaked havoc on the phone lines and the security systems tied into them, so everything’s on lockdown. Which is just perfect for thematic purposes, for isn’t that what being a man means, too? You’re locked in an inescapable maze with a crazy psychotic monster lady who will tear your guts on, and you’d like to leave, but you can’t, because… The Bitch! She has you right where she wants you.