Of all the places, in all the towns, in all the world, this alien walks into Storage 24

Commander's log, Stardate 22102012.2:

Some people just have no class.

When Gort and I arrived on Earth, we descended in the Mothership's landing craft and plopped it down in the middle of a lawn in Washington DC. I hopped out and declared that I came in peace... and was promptly shot. Gort proceeded to open up some whupass and, with the help of Helen Cox of New Empress magazine, we managed to get out our message and retired to the Mothership in orbit.

Disaster though it may have been, we at least retained our dignity. Some aliens, however, simply show up wherever: forests, redneck towns, the ocean, high school and even the Arctic. Still, never before have I heard of an alien turning up in a self-storage unit in Battersea... until I saw Storage 24.
Noel Clarke is no stranger to taking on alien invaders, having made his name starring in Doctor Who. Conversely, he has a cult following for writing and directing his own gritty London dramas, and he combines the two skills by starring and penning in this attempt at a British comedy-scifi in the vein of The Faculty and Critters.

Clarke recruits a Michael Fassbender impersonator to help him pick up his stuff from storage after being resoundingly dumped by his girlfriend. The pair turn up to find his girlfriend, her posh, stroppy male friend and her hot, but judgemental female friend have had exactly the same idea. Cue awkward pause. Right then, however, wouldn't you know it, an escaped alien scarpers from a crashed military plane and starts hacking and slashing its way through the building.

We're a big fan of what we call "then suddenly... APOCALYPSE!" movies; films that start in one genre and suddenly morph into another. See The Horde, From Dusk Till Dawn and Fallen. The key to this trick is to use the early half to build up a connection to sympathetic characters, then drop the bomb on the situation with some kind of supernatural MacGuffin.

Storage 24 is particularly good at this. Clarke is an exceptional actor and does a great job here. The situation is realistic and tense, one most of us can sympathise with, and benefits from ensuring that each of the five characters present are equally detestable in their own ways. Indeed, as the set up for a Midsummer Night's Dream-style theatrical drama, this could continue quite well.

Where it falls down, however, is in the alien visitor. We're in two minds about the effects - on the one hand, they are very cheap, but on the other, they do the job in context. A stilted actor in costume is enhanced by a grotesque CGI mouth. You can clearly see the join and the design is reminiscent of Who's Ood, but as cheap scifi B-movie monsters go, it's a quite a way above a chimp in prosthetics.

The main problem is, there is no development, no anthropology and no motive to the alien's actions. This is clearly scifi written by a drama writer who has no interest in developing the scifi aspects - scifi-light for the Eastenders crowd, if you will. As such, the film is a wasted opportunity as a drama that stops right in the middle to have alien shenanigans and lacks any substance as a scifi or horror movie. Still, Clarke ensures the whole affair has a touch of class and competence and there are far worse ways to spend a couple of hours on a Saturday night.

Storage 24 is available in all formats from 29th October