Posts Tagged ‘Scream Queen’

In Storage 24 No-One Actually Screams


Apart from a highly amusing scene involving a cute stuffed dog and some fireworks, Storage 24 is not a particularly good movie.  It’s the kind of unremarkable movie that you probably won’t go and see and, regardless of whether its spread of reviews is slightly below or above average (currently mostly poor), it’ll never get the marketing behind it to find an audience.  And no-one will particularly be missing out.

What intrigued me about this mostly cliched monster movie was that, despite the obviousness of the setup – people get locked in a storage locker, a random monster kills some of them and they try and escape – and notable lack of any interesting themes, story lines or visual flourishes, it still managed to break the mould of the traditional schlock horror in a couple of interesting ways.  Firstly, the main character was a black male who was not remotely stereotyped in any way, shape or form.  Played by Noel Clarke, better known as Mickey from Dr.Who, his character Charlie is very much a continuation of Clarke’s work on that show, since he’s notable only for being an average Joe in every way possible.  He’s the kind of black guy I might actually happen to meet and know rather than the socially and economically deprived problem seen in The Wire.  *shock*

The point is, for once, there’s no point.  Clarke just happens to be a good actor for the role. (I like him.  He has charisma)

Even more irrelevant is the female lead Shelley, a character with little screen presence who remained mostly unnoticed by me until she spectacularly failed to scream.  After sticking a knife into a monster, running away and holing herself up into an elevator, Antonia Campbell-Hughes plays her character as realistically tense and nervous without opening her mouth in the way I’d come to expect she would at that point.  It was a relatively successful scene and none the worse for the silence.

Both of these points are very minor and it’s not like we haven’t seen characters of these kinds in genre movies before.  British horror cinema has in fairly recent years done a good job of portraying strong female leads in quality movies like The Descent or Triangle, but this instance stuck out to me because it wasn’t self consciously about women (and the movie wasn’t self-consciously about black people as was last years highly praised “Attack the Block”).  I began to wonder if after a number of years of strong directors – from Ridley Scott to Tarantino, to Joss Whedon – making the point that women are far too strong and far too interesting as people in their own right to be routinely relegated to the scream-queen, that the message had finally started to  filter through and is starting to be applied to regular genre cinema?

– Spoiler –

Another nice, unusual, touch occurred as the movie ended.  Three of the cast survived and two of them happened to be women.  One of those women, Shelley, had been morally promiscuous enough to cheat on Charlie with his best friend, and then to leave him upset after their 5 year relationship.  Shelley didn’t jump back into Charlie’s arms after a “manly rescue” of her, she simply offered him a lift home, which he refused.  This was another nice nod towards the idea that women have a complex emotional and sexual life and are no more to blame for the tough choices in life than men are.  Shelley’s behaviour towards Charlie wasn’t amazing but she acknowledged the fault and the couple began to move on.  In this movie, for once, she didn’t have to die for being a slut.

-End Spoiler –

On a more negative note, this is an independent British cinema release and not a mainstream US production.  These attitudes filtering through to smaller movies is not necessarily indicative of a wider change and attitudes towards Black people have never beenm quite as hostile here as they have been in the States.  Regardless, it was encouraging.

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