Director: Matt Winn
Starring: Mischa Barton, Robert Knepper, Andrew Buckley. USA. 1h 24m
Quietly unassuming but a strangely profound thriller, that draws on all the good aspects of the Descent (2005) mixed with all the horrors of Storage Wars !!?
Matt Winn sets his chilling horror mystery in the basement of a complicated system within a self storage unit. With a set up that begins like an episode of Steve Wilkos show. Ella (Barton) is attempting to discover if her future husband is cheating on her. After suspecting that his lock up is holding nasty secrets, Ella entices her bestie, Molly (Atack) to help her gain access to the unit, using a lock pick and borrowed card key, which they discover will change their lives forever.
There’s a strange community thriving down on the lower levels, the girls meet a charming Asian guy Rashid (Sumitro), a random nervous hippy chick and even a couple dividing their goods while they work through their divorce. But after the first victim has been slain, the group, now trapped in the confusing claustrophobic corridors, manage to also run into a shifty police officer, Vince (Knepper) but even armed with a gun, he’s can’t keep the group safe as they stalked and picked off one by one by a sinister creature that creeps the halls.
There’s quite an interesting build up of characters and plot, but the addition of new characters and problems to solve keep the film quite fresh and don’t fall into the typical tropes. Ella is supposedly our heroine and it’s her drive which keeps the movie flowing. The vibrant characters around her really spices the film and it’s sad to see a few of them get dispatched in such cruel ways. Matt Winn doesn’t seen too interested to maim and torture too much onscreen, this could be a budget issues, nevertheless there could be a lot more graphic content but the push towards this being a viable thriller and contender with The Descent.. The Descent Vs Storage Wars?
“No it wasn’t a man!!”– Ella
It’s not all thrills and kills and for a hard-core horror fan there could be a lot more gore and terrors but I adore how Winn manages to control the levels of tension, he slowly adds in increasing fear and doesn’t rely on expensive effects or cloaking the film in pitch black darkness in order to scare an audience. His ability to build sensible characters and then unmask them as something else is remarkable, but then so is his total disrespect for the hero of the movie, that little jolt at the end will catch everyone off guard and the movie unfolds like Unsane.
There’s a lot more to this film than the average horror, the little surprises just keep coming, it will leave you ‘re thinking of sneaking into any establishment and reinforces the saying that you can’t judge a book by its cover.
Related: The Descent (2005)
Lists: Underground Horrors Vol 1 , 15 Horrors from 2015 Vol 1