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RELEASED: 2007, Cert. 18
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 86 mins
DIRECTOR: Jamie Banks
PRODUCER: Gary Hamilton
SCREENPLAY: Everett De Roche
MUSIC: Jamie Blanks
Nadia Fares as Pia
Robert Taylor as Rob
David Lyons as Jimmy
Mathew Wilkinson as Brett
John Brumpton as Poppy
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Rob and his French wife Pia go on a fishing trip. Bad weather is looming overhead, and as a storm threatens, Rob decides it might be a good idea to take the boat through the mangrove area. When their boat becomes damaged, they wander through the mangrove on foot, spotting a ramshackle old collection of sheds and a house, all of which appear to be abandoned. Rob and Pia enter the house as they find the door is unlocked, to be met with utter squalor inside, yet they are hoping to find a phone inside so they can call for help.
What Rob and Pia didn't bargain for was two brothers Jimmy and Brett, who live in the old house with their father, returning from wherever they'd been.
Immediately, Jimmy and Brett begin a campaign of torment and harassment towards Rob and Pia, the couple's plight worsening when the father, Poppy, puts in an appearance.
From then onwards, Rob and Pia have to rely on their wits and inventiveness to save themselves from the decidedly nutty backwoods father and two sons.
Although I appreciate the scene has to be set and a film has to be made, I was a bit irritated with Rob and Pia for setting sail, when it was obvious the weather was about to take a turn for the worse. Would anybody sensible risk a fishing trip in a remote area of Australia's mangrove swamp when the thunderstorm from hell was imminent?
From reading various summaries and précis of Storm Warning, one might believe, as I initially did, that the film is yet another in a whole host of films which are about teens lost somewhere, and encountering something or someone harmful which they have to pit their wits against. However, Rob and Pia aren't teenagers, and the plight they find themselves in is a little different from the norm.
With one or two minor exceptions, I usually find Australian horror/psycho-chiller/slasher type movies to be very well-made and entertaining....Storm Warning is no exception, although from the situational aspect, the Aussies have done similar before.
Jimmy, Brett and dad Poppy make it more than clear that Rob and Pia certainly aren't welcome at their remote, squalid dwelling in the middle of nowhere, and the father/two sons trio are totally off their trolleys, appearing to live on a diet of mainly alcohol, with a few ruined egg meals thrown in here and there. They also have a huge plantation of marijuana plants growing in one of their sheds. The violence contained within the film borders the extreme here and there, but I have seen worse. Also, some of the tactics used by Pia when she realises she is going to be raped are I suppose fairly novel, resulting in a couple of scenes which would make any men who watch this film extremely uncomfortable. I will leave that part to your imagination, and whatever you envisage, will be a little different from what actually does happen.
I found the acting by all the main cast members to be first class, particularly that of David Lyons as the creepy, snarling Jimmy. Lyons gave a very good performance, to the point where he almost managed to scare the hell out of me. The dialogue is also very good, particularly Jimmy's lines....and he delivers them with a very sardonic, chilling manner.
The whole atmosphere of Storm Warning is one of squalor. The inside of the house the three madmen share is appalling...filthy beyond anybody's expectations or imagination. Various pointers towards unusual sexual practices are scattered around, such as the settee which, if you look closely enough, you will spot that it is a blow-up rubber doll. During one part of Storm Warning, Poppy and Brett are watching a hardcore porn film on their TV....and although you aren't shown the action, it is obvious what the movie is about, by the sounds.
As gory, bloody, gruesome and in some parts sickening that Storm Warning is, I couldn't help raising a smile here and there....one or two minor events even made me laugh, which - and I do accept that I have a very black sense of humour - made me believe that those scenes weren't intended to be taken seriously, perhaps being the direction/production team's grotesquely tongue-in-cheek comedic offering.
The music to Storm Warning is all synthesized, and although I found it enhanced the chilling atmosphere very well, it was a little too loud in parts for me. Some of it is fairly tuneful, with the remainder being abstract noises, created and appropriately placed in order to hike up the disturbing atmosphere.
Overall, this is yet another instance where the Australians prove that they are good at knocking up a decent, low-budget horror/slasher film. It is a bit of a gore-fest, but as said above I have seen worse recently and I sincerely believe that much of what happens on the screen isn't intended to be taken seriously. The quality of the acting does add an uncomfortable touch of realism, and I guess after watching this film, one is left with the feeling that if lost in the outback or in the mangrove in a storm, it's probably best to try and head homewards rather than take shelter in what at first appears to be an abandoned building.....better still, check out the weather forecast before embarking on the trip.
At the time of writing, Storm Warning can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from £3.48 to £10.45
Used: from £3.49 to £10.45
Collectible: only one copy currently available @ £6.95 (appears to be used)
Some items on Amazon are available for free delivery within the UK, but where this doesn't apply, a £1.26 charge should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Storm Warning (2007)
Directed By Jamie Banks (Urban Legend)
Produced by Gary Hamilton
Written by Everett De Roche
Running Time 86 minutes
UK Certificate 18
Rob and Pia are enjoying a quiet days fishing when they are caught up in a storm. Forced to head towards land they end up in a remote, swamp area where their boat becomes damaged, with torrential rain soaking the pair and thunder and lightning overhead they are desperate to find shelter and somewhere where they can telephone for help. Noticing what appears to be an abandoned building ahead of them they approach a rundown old house complete with outhouses and after knocking and trying the back door find it to be unlocked. Cold, wet and frightened Rob and Pia enter looking for a telephone but are interrupted in their search by the inhabitants of the house who have returned home...
Brothers Brett and Jimmy together with their father, Poppy are not happy to have unwelcome guests intruding their home and so begins a fight to stay alive as Rob and Pia are held prisoner against their will. When Rob is badly injured by the psychotic brothers it is up to Pia to save them, but just how far will she go to protect herself and her husband? A Texas chainsaw massacre meets Wolf Creek in this savage tale of survival as the brothers get more than they bargained for when they start to mess with Pia...
Survival films have been done before and this film uses the well used premise of pitting a normal, everyday couple against a group of homicidal maniacs before allowing the viewer to sit back and watch them fight to for their lives. You would be forgiven for drawing comparisons to the exploitation films of the 1970's and I was reminded throughout this of other, older titles especially "I Spit on your grave" and "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and whilst "Storm Warning" offers nothing new to the genre it still manages to deliver a comprehensively wicked take on the 'kill or be killed' premise and does so with plenty of tongue-in-cheek, black comedy moments.
From the second our unlucky pair step foot in the shambolic home of Poppy and his sons you know you are in for a treat with this film, devilishly designed by the film makers as being a disgusting hovel the place is enough to send Kim and Aggie ('How clean is your house?') into cardiac arrest. The walls and floors are filthy, there are topless pictures of ladies plastered over the dirt and sitting on the grimy, dank sofa is a blow-up sex doll. The depravity is clear to see from the start and the set designers must have had a field-day when designing the house that is occupied by Poppy and his two sons who are just as depraved as the conditions they live in. Deliciously portrayed by David Lyons, Jimmy is the more forward of the two sons who takes great delight in tormenting and humiliating Rob and Pia as he begins his reign of terror over the frightened pair. His alcoholic father - Poppy is unseen for the first part of the film after falling unconscious in an alcohol stupor so it is up to Jimmy and Brett to taunt and tease and to set the tone for what is to come.
Being held captive with a badly injured husband Pia is forced to take matters into her own hands especially when she realises that the brothers and their father want to rape her. Fashioning her own special, intimate surprise for her would-be attackers we know what the outcome is going to be as the film throws itself firmly into a barrage of blood and gore. Having only three bad guys to get through before freedom awaits Pia has to get rid of the younger brother first and bumps him off in an elaborate and incredibly gory way. Chains, hooks and fishing lines are used to their full potential with the end result being a splatter filled mess - clearly not suited for anyone with a weak stomach or an aversion to blood. An 18 certificate is easily earned through the excessive violence that plays out on screen and rather than spoil the enjoyment I won't reveal what happens to Poppy or his older son except to say I was reminded of a very infamous scene from "I Spit on your grave" which will have any bloke wincing as they watch. Nasty, and even more so when the families dog manages to grab a bite to eat...
Australian horror films always seem to go the extra mile when it comes to providing a gore-fest and this along with "Wolf Creek" are two examples of extreme Australian cinema. Whilst I wouldn't say this film was as nasty or as cruel as Wolf Creek it is still disgusting enough to appeal to fans of the splatter genre and of course I loved it. Strong acting from Nadia Fares as Pia and David Lyons as Jimmy help to fully flesh out the characters and while Robert Taylor is a bit weak and wishy-washy as the husband Rob it is clear that this is a film which intends to shock and it fully succeeds.
For a low budget horror film the money was clearly spent on the special effects and it shows, the blood looks like blood and the gore is well shot and portrayed perfectly on screen, the premise is wafer thin as films of this nature are but you know what you are letting yourself in for when you watch a survival film anyway so that shouldn't be seen as a criticism. For under £5.00 to buy new from Amazon this won't break the bank and will provide a fun filled hour and half's entertainment for any fans of the genre and it is a film that I do recommend.
There are extras on the DVD including a director's commentary and cast interviews along with a behind the scenes feature showing stills of the Make-up and special effects used in the film. I personally don't bother watching the extras but they are there if you want them anyway.
4/5 dooyoo stars from me then for "Storm Warning"; a low budget Aussie horror film which will disgust and delight in equal measures.
Originally appeared on ciao under my username, thanks for reading my review.
Pia and Rob, an Australian couple, decide to spend the day fishing, but then end up drifting towards a swamp where, because of a coming storm, they are forced to seek shelter. Miraculously, they find a farmhouse and knock on the door for help. There is no-one there, but the door is open and so they go in to find a phone. Then the owners come home - and they are not happy. Brothers Jimmy and Brett are furious that the couple have just walked in and refuse to offer them any help, claiming that they have no phone and that the storm means they are stranded for the time being. When Poppy, their father, arrives, Pia and Rob realise that they are not going to be able to escape the farmhouse, storm or no storm, especially when Rob takes a bullet to the leg and Pia is threatened with rape. Then Pia comes to her senses and decides that she is not going to go down without a fight. Will it be enough to save them? Will she have to undergo rape in order to live?
This is an Australian film that seems to be little known over here, which is a great shame. Although it is no classic, it is a well-made film with some good performances and special effects. The highlight of the film is undoubtedly Nadia Fares as Pia. With her French accent and model looks, she initially comes across as spoiled and irritating and I presumed that she was going to be a character to whom the viewer wouldn't be sorry to say goodbye. That all changes when she is put under pressure and she rises to the challenge beautifully. It's a pleasant change to see a woman kick butt in this sort of film, and whereas some of her escapades are pushing the boundaries of realism a little too far, she is very entertaining to watch. She doesn't lose her femininity though either, which, considering what she has to do, is quite amazing. For once, this is a horror film character that is actually likable.
Her husband Rob, played by Robert Taylor, is less impressive, but then he isn't supposed to be. Sidelined fairly early in the film, he doesn't have the chance to do much more than look like he's in pain while he watches his wife go beserk. This helps to highlight Pia's incredible actions, so it isn't really a bad thing. The mad family, made up of Jimmy, Brett and Poppy, are all excellent. Poppy, played by John Brumpton is truly terrifying; his evil apparently knowing no bounds. Jimmy (David Lyons) wasn't much better, especially when he seems to soften at one point, only to come back even stronger. Brett (Mathew Wilkinson) is slightly simple and does appear to be won over by Pia at one point, seeming to add a potential escape route. As a family, they were amazingly sadistic, lived like pigs, and were incredibly realistic, which really adds to the whole atmosphere of the film.
The main reason that the film has become a quiet favourite amongst many horror fans is that it is chock-full of gore scenes. This perhaps shouldn't have been a surprise, bearing in mind that the director, Jamie Blanks, also directed Urban Legend. Nevertheless, Storm Warning is a cut above Urban Legend - at least in my book. Considering this is such a low budget film, the special effects are impressive - not perfect, but very fitting and believable. Some of the most horrible scenes involve a contraption made of wire and flying farm tools that attacks one of them, stretching his skin in ways that you wouldn't believe; a man with severe penis damage; and a dog eating someone's blood-strewn crotch. It isn't a pleasant watch and certainly isn't something you'd want to see while eating your dinner, but it is very well-done and fits in perfectly with the atmosphere. It is obviously not in the slightest bit appropriate for children, and thoroughly deserves its 18 rating.
Having said all that, it is really the atmosphere that makes the film. From the minute the couple drift in close to the swamp, surrounded by what look like mangrove trees with their trailing roots, there is a sense of eeriness, of no escape. Then the farmhouse, which is filthy and looks uninhabitable, furthers the suggestion of 'abandon hope all ye who enter here'. Although the gore is visually fascinating to watch, provided you don't mind that sort of thing, it wasn't all that necessary, because the feeling of claustrophobia before anything happens is actually more scary than anything else. However, when combined with the strange family and the violence that they emit, followed by all the bloody fighting, the result is a film that will satisfy many fans of horror and possibly some who enjoy thrillers that include violence.
The story is a very simple one. It has been done before; done to death in fact, so it is actually amazing that this film manages to bring a fresh angle to it. It doesn't result in an amazing film - few horrors are these days, because there just aren't that many surprises left - but it is a perfectly entertaining watch. The ending is no great surprise, but it could have gone a different way if the director was so inclined. The set is very basic, much of it takes place in the farmhouse or the nearby shed, but that is all that is needed and adds greatly to the claustrophic atmosphere.
There are a few extras. The first is a Behind the Scenes featurette. There is no narration, it is just made up of shots of how the film was made, particularly with reference to the make-up and special effects. It is quite effective though; there was clearly a great deal of work that went into making the film. Some of the special effects use very basic devices, but they have been very well integrated into the film, so that they always look realistic. There are cast interviews with the sadistic family members - it's perhaps worth a glance, but no more. Finally, there is a theatrical trailer.
I enjoyed this film. I went into it with low expectations, having read just a couple of reviews on it, but it was surprisingly enjoyable. The fact that the main character is a woman who doesn't just sit back and take what is thrown at her was appealing and I thought she gave a good performance. Australian film doesn't seem to reach these shores very often, which is a shame, because there are some worthwhile films that we're missing out on. If you like horror, then this is definitely worth a watch. Recommended.
The DVD is available from play.com for £4.99.
Running time: 86 minutes
I originally wrote this review for IMDB where it was copied and put on openguys.org (bastards).
Totally unoriginal but reasonably "enjoyable" survival horror from Australia about a couple who get lost whilst fishing and run into some very clichéd inbred backwood red necks. Storm Warning attempts to cash in on the superficially similar recent successes such as Wolf Creek, Wrong Turn and The Hills Have Eyes.
Any tension, threat or menace is completely destroyed by the over the top pantomime performances of the villains and the obvious studio setting used for most of the film. There is never any sense that the protagonists are in real danger nor any empathy for them, in fact I wanted to see things happen to Robert Taylor to rouse him from his comatose performance which seemed to be induced by medication.
There are however some very "satisfying" gore scenes towards the end as "vengeance" is meted out but it does seem wholly disproportionate to the ordeal of the couple, perhaps they were angered at being upstaged by three members of the local amateur dramatics society.
Don't be fooled into thinking this is an original take on the ultra realistic inbred red neck slasher survival horror sub genre, after all it is from the director of the equally unoriginal Urban Legend.
A review of just the film, Storm Warning was produced in 2007 and released on DVD in region 2 in 2008. It's pretty cheap online at around £6.
Australian Rob and his gorgeous French wife Pia decide to spend the day fishing and messing around on a small boat. As the weather starts to turn colder and less predictable, Pia suggests that they head back to land, but Rob decides that they should make their way round the next headland and find shore that way. After hours of sailing deeper into mangrove swampland, they realise that they are hopelessly lost and as the water gets too shallow for the outboard motor, they drag the craft to land and go in search of help. As night falls, Pia spots the lights from a truck, but hesitates to go and ask for help when the three occupants appear to be assaulting a helpless young man. Understandably frightened, they make their way in the opposite direction, where they find a large, rundown farmhouse and shelter from the rain. But guess whose house it is........
Storm Warning is what you might call a hidden, horror gem. Barely making a scratch at the cinema or on DVD, it's one of those films that will come to your attention by word of mouth and for fans of the 'lunatics at large, people in peril' genre, this is one of the better examples of recent years.
Director Jamie Blanks has definitely matured since his earlier material (the teenage slashers Valentine and Urban Legend) and now settles on more hardcore subject matter. The set up is very simple (and not particularly original, if we're honest) but what sets Storm Warning aside from the competition is Everett De Roche's spot-on writing, that side steps pretty much all of the corny clichés and instead plays things exactly how you'd expect them to work. De Roche's story is pushed along by the brisk pace and conservative running time, and instead of a constant stream of unrepentant gory bits, the writer opts instead for restricted, extreme nastiness that will have even the most hardened genre hound grimacing and reaching for a cushion.
Crucially, De Roche knows how to work his audience and, even more importantly, fundamentally understands the psychology behind this kind of movie. We're presented with two seemingly normal individuals who (representing the viewer) are plunged into a nightmare conflict against a family of nutcases (representing our fear of the unknown). Completely abandoned by sanity and decency and left to their own devices deep within the isolated mangroves, it's pretty clear that these people can and will do anything and when the boundaries disappear, the viewer really doesn't know what to expect. More recently, writers and directors have opted to go down a bleak, hopeless route where our heroes (that's us by the way) are outwitted and brutalised at every turn and there really doesn't appear to be a way out. But in Storm Warning, De Roche decides that real people pitched into really bad circumstances will behave appropriately. As Pia herself says, 'to catch a mad dog, you have to think like a mad dog, only madder' - and that's exactly what she does.
Tinged with hints of I Spit On Your Grave and The Last House on the Left, Storm Warning is therefore a much more satisfying game of cat and mouse because against the odds, the mouse seems to have as much chance as the cat. Essentially incarcerated in the barn, Pia's boyfriend can only watch helplessly as his feisty girlfriend fights for their lives so it's a good job she's up to the task. It's imaginative and gruesome stuff. Unhindered by the genre shackles of being feeble and screaming a lot, Pia has a lot more gumption and isn't afraid to do what needs to be done. This, of course, presents a much more admirable character than we might normally expect (although boyfriend Rob is a bit of a waste of space) and means that, unconventionally, you actually care what happens to her.
The lunatics are a gruesome, disgusting trio comprising two half-wit brothers and their deranged father. In fear of their 'Poppy', Jimmy and Brett skulk around the farmhouse, leering at Pia's body at every turn and tormenting the couple as much as possible. It quickly becomes clear that they are very dangerous but (crucially) Pia inherits most of the peril, as it's clear that all three men see her as nothing but a sex object. The build-up to Poppy's entrance is something of a genre convention and his arrival is almost disappointing (you're led to believe that he's something a little more than he is) but it's clear that he shares his son's appetite for rape and violence. To be clear, this is an extreme movie, with very strong language and I suspect that it would be difficult viewing for many, particularly women who would find the sexual violence disturbing. But there's a lot of satisfaction to be had here, too. Notably, De Roche doesn't insult the viewer with the normal 'twists' we expect to find, with the bad guys getting up and coming back time and time again. In Storm Warning, when they're down, they stay down - it's just up to Pia to get them there.
The performances are strong. The intimate cast (there are really only five people in Storm Warning) means that they all have to pull their weight. Pia (Nadia Fares) and Rob (Robert Taylor) are convincing enough, although all they really need to be is 'normal'. Fares's feistiness is a welcome addition to the film and she gets that balance of fear and 'fighting' pretty much spot on. The three family members are so utterly grotesque that you can only hope that the three actors are that good at acting but it's Poppy (John Brumpton) who probably gets the top award for nastiness (and subsequent come-uppance.....)
There is, of course, a sub-current of social observation here, with Rob and Pia portrayed clearly as 'yuppies' and the family resenting them for it. It's not an entirely relevant theme within the film and serves little purpose other than the fuel the hatred between the sides. At times, you wonder whether the writer has something cleverer in mind but if he did, it's never fully realised.
This aside, Storm Warning is a resounding success on nearly every front. Perfectly timed and plotted, deliciously nasty when it needs to be and fundamentally exciting, this is how the 'peril porn' genre should work and is highly recommended. Don't say you weren't warned......