“ Actors: Noel Clarke, Colin O'Donoghue, Antonia Campbell-Hughes / Directors: Johannes Roberts / Format: PAL / Language: English, German / Subtitles: English, German, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Icelandic / Dubbed: German / Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English / Number of discs: 1 / Classification: 15 / Studio: Universal Pictures UK / DVD Release Date: 29 Oct 2012 / Run Time: 87 minutes „
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Noel Clarke is usually a draw to me, for a film. I have enjoyed characters he has played as well as films he has produced or directed. Seeing his name here made me think it was worth a watch, which is no doubt what the creators of this low budget low quality low everything would be hoping. Clarke's name is pretty much the only good thing about it, other than the opening few minutes where the suspense is actually rather gripping.
The film essentially takes place in a storage lockup in Battersea. A plane has crashed into it, sealing in those who were already in there, including Clarke's character. From the start, we're given this back story featuring Clarke and his ex-girlfriend and his best friend and the other friend - I don't know, I sort of got lost in the reasoning behind a lot of the plot developments and character interactions beyond the main part of the plot - what the plane left behind.
We're led to believe there's a monster of some sorts in the storage lockup, and at the start of the film, it's the janitor who descends down into the store room to find out what's going on when the power seems to drop off. This starts the darkness that becomes the commonplace of the entire film, and the tension and timing is actually pretty impressive. That extra little linger at the end of a camera shot where you expect to have a jumpy moment as a monster lurches out of the darkness and chomps a head off rarely happens, but it doesn't stop you thinking it's going to.
To be fair, the tension element when the characters are isolated does remain for most of the film, but the visual full size and details of the monster are revealed far too early and in much too much detail. Part of the lure of a horror such as this is in the imagination taking hold and developing the bits that you can't see. This monster is a sort of cross between Predator and Alien, and as such doesn't hold much originality or the fear factor. Some of the gore is second rate, and the special effects in general pass muster but are nothing special.
The acting though is where things are let down. Most of the time it seems awkward, and although Clarke does a decent job it just seems out of place and therefore his performance seems wrong. The actress playing the ex-girlfriend just is not believable as having ever had a connection with him, and the acting just doesn't do this sub plot any justice at all. If anything, it completely undermines the efforts it makes towards balancing the main plot with the monster and trying to get us to empathise or at least sympathise with these people who are on the verge of being gnawed and brutalised by a monster. Instead, we cheer for the monster to put us out of our misery.
Curiously, those little pockets of intrigue and tension keep cropping up, and kudos to the timing of lingering on some of those shots - it's the only element of the behind the scenes work worth shouting about to be honest, as the rest is mediocre. I'm just not sure where the blame for this lies, whether it's with the director, the cast or the budget. Either way, this is an 80 minute British horror flick that doesn't horrify very much and doesn't hold much reason for you to keep watching. I haven't really seen much to balance the poorer elements of this for quite some time, although the timing on the camera is an impressive saving grace well worth pointing out. Not recommended, even though Noel Clarke's involvement should suggest otherwise.
A long time ago I became bored of horror films and moved on to comedy. I could not really see the point in depressing myself with films that have a 90% death rate and very few decent endings. However, recently I found myself getting caught up in the fascination of such gory films, particularly the monster creature type. I knew very little about this film when it came on television one evening, but it sounded like the sort I was looking for so I recorded it and decided to give it a go. I watched it with my boyfriend and my sister, feeling a bit guilty as she had expressed a preference not to watch anything too bloody.
After a plane crashes into a storage facility, the people just happening to be there at the time find themselves locked inside. Among them is recently dumped Charlie, determined to get an explanation from his ex girlfriend Shelley and struggling to cope with their breakup. After the building goes into lockdown, he finds that he is trapped inside for the night. Worse yet, something appears to be picking people off, and the man who can let them out is one of the first to disappear.
The main characters are introduced gradually, and at the start it is not clear who will be most involved in the remainder of the film. However, once we become acquainted with Charlie and his best friend Mark, the story becomes rather predictable. The twists may not be completely expected, but they bring little surprise. We already know more than the characters do about the thing that is attacking them, and even the element of mystery as to when and how they figure it out is short lived. The story develops somewhat, but has nothing particularly original and could have been a few episodes of a soap stuck together with the addition of a monster. In other words, the monster itself is hardly a focal point of the film.
I found my boyfriend and I were making a lot of sarcastic remarks through the first half of the film, and could not help openly criticising the plot. I'm not normally like this, but I guess I was embarrassed at having chosen this film to watch that evening. In spite of this, I'd be lying if I said I did not enjoy the film at all. It wasn't that bad, and there was a little bit of humour, if a little ridiculous. As the film progressed, it did get a bit better, and I guess I would not have wanted to continue watching through to the finish if I did not want to know how it would end.
Acting and Characters
The acting was pretty substandard throughout this film, which was very disappointing. Furthermore, the characters were downright awful, save for one girl, who was disappointingly plain. The rest were incredibly annoying and the acting just seemed very unnatural, creating quite pathetic people. We ended up rooting for the monster at times just to finish them off.
Clarke's character is caught up in self-pity and without anything else to go on to understand or appreciate him this gets boring very quickly. His friend is terribly shallow and likewise is his ex and her male friend who is hostile for no reason. Between Charlie and his ex we would expect tension, but it was poorly acted out and lacked any genuine chemistry. It was hard to picture these two ever having been more than friends and even that seemed weak.
There are the odd few other characters that add a bit of variety to the story, which make it more interesting. Unfortunately these people barely have a chance to develop in their roles and I honestly think some of them would have been better as main characters. The core cast was just too ordinary and simple for my liking.
The soundtrack is eerie from the very start and this catches the mood well. The suspense and build up was pretty good throughout so this at least kept me paying attention. At times it seems like everything is deliberately slowed down, and actually this effect works really well, even it does make me feel a little impatient. The sense of anticipating what might happen next is pretty strong.
The monster is shown in its full glory and does seem fairly menacing. I'd say it is pretty hard to keep up the horror once you see a monster fully because it is never as bad as your imagination could make it. That said, I think this was not a bad attempt at avoiding looking like a man dressed in a ridiculous outfit with claws and big teeth. Nonetheless, the most effective scenes were before we saw it.
The storage setting is dark, especially since the lights are intermittently failing, and this adds to the atmosphere. However, at the same time it is full of brightly coloured storage units and this contrast works pretty well. In a way the result is that you still have that sense of uncertainty but without the depressing dullness used in a lot of films. Generally the film looks very natural and as a British viewer I'd say, even without the skyline shots occasionally shown at the start and end of the film, it did look like London. Someone said to me recently that the more normality a horror film starts out with, the more scary it is, because that means it could happen to you. I guess to some extent this effect could be seen, but then again how likely is it that a plane carrying a monster will crash in London?
There are some pretty graphic violent scenes in this film, so I do think for that reason, it is not for the faint hearted. The scenes of people being killed are slow and gruesome, and there is one particularly gory scene that shows someone's insides in graphic detail. It didn't look real at all to me, which weakened the impact, but suffice it to say my sister who does not like blood was happily not paying attention! The rating is only 15, and I suppose this is probably a typical rating for this sort of film by now, but it should be noted that this film will not be for everyone. I should also say that an animal is harmed in the story (not for real, of course!) but we only hear it, rather than see it. However, I know this can be distressing for some viewers.
This not a film that I am likely to be in a hurry to watch again, and I have a feeling I would have trouble sitting through the whole thing if I did. Although this film certainly has its fair share of horror and suspense, the tangles of bickering between characters are painfully tiresome and dragged out for far too long. Once the film gets going it is not so bad, and it will probably satisfy most appetites for gore, so as a horror it is alright. In spite of its predictability, I kept watching to see how the film would go, and I think for this it was worth a watch. However, I would not recommend forking out money for this one, maybe catch it if it comes on television when nothing else is on.