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Simon Read [Film Festival 06.24.11] United Kingdom movie review horror

Year: 2010
Directors: Dan Turner
Writers: Jason Arnopp / Dan Turner (
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: projectcyclops
Rating: 3 out of 10

A low budget British horror set almost entirely in an underground bunker, inside of which the army have captured a supernatural entity and are holding it in a kind of EMP Faraday cage. An American woman who claims to have psychic powers visits the bunker and tries to make contact with the creature, which has begun to penetrate the field and find ways to posses the soldiers and scientists, playing malevolent games and generally adding to the air of cabin fever.

The first words on my notes for this films simply say, "Oh dear." It's hard not to notice the low budget immediately, as well as the patchy acting and very simple, slightly wonky script, all of which sadly make Stormhouse a bit of a clunker. I can't really fault any one actor on their performance as it's a kind of across the board lack of energy and chemistry. The psychic is played by Katherine Flynn who happens to be the daughter of Jane Seymour, and has had bit parts in many television shows and a few films, mostly credited as 'Receptionist' or 'Waitress'. She's not terrible though, but struggles to carry the film on her own. Supporting actor Grant Masters handles his role as an arrogant army major quite well, but it's like when you watch a school play and there's one kid who's a natural while the others flounder around on stage.

The direction is at best pretty nuts-and-bolts, with the cinematography keeping the emphasis on shadows and fluorescent lighting to try and keep the audience on edge, but it's kind of like watching someone filming in their basement. There are many CCTV cutaways and place cards telling us the date and time, which only serve to let us know time is passing in the film. I liked the special effect for the cage, it was basic but that worked to make it look in place within the film. What really lets the film down though was the script. I can handle low budgets, limited performers and basic directing so long as there is good dialogue, but writers Dan Turner and Jason Arnopp just don't make it sound convincing. The soldiers bark orders, hassle the wimpy scientists (reminding me of Day of the Dead more than a little bit) and make rude comments about Flynn, because she is a woman. It's that kind of stuff. But we never think that these are real people, just stereotypes, which would be fine in a film which declared itself a b-movie from the get-go but I got the impression that Stormhouse took itself too seriously, with it's constant references to the war in Iraq and the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay.

One element that really didn't make sense was why everyone would be so negative towards Flynn's character if it were they who had invited her, reminding me of that old Simpsons joke, "Why would they come just to boo us?" The major seems particularly skeptical about her abilities, even although they're dealing with an actual ghost. If you've got a real live ghost in a cage, possessing your men and causing trouble, then why dismiss someone who claims they can talk to it? Just one of many plot holes. Also, why is it that when the alarm goes off, so do all the lights? Wouldn't you want more light in an emergency?

Enough griping, there are a few good points. The gore is in there so if that's your bag then there's a section towards the end of the film during which there are decapitations, severed limbs and a deadly basketball which provides easily the best moment in the film; a moment that seems like it belongs in another film but made the entire audience laugh. The effects are simply the best part of the film; pretty impressive and largely practical, although I spotted some CGI in there.

Not the worst film I've seen so far this year, but it's never going to set the world on fire.

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cyberhal (11 years ago) Reply

I was really looking forward to this one! Aw! I think I have to check it out anyway.


ritter (11 years ago) Reply

how does it compare to that film projectcyclops made?


Hot Fuzz (11 years ago) Reply


You do understand that film critics don't make movies right? Do people say stupid shit like that to Roger Ebert? Idiot.


projectcyclops (11 years ago) Reply

@Hot Fuzz

Thanks mate. I've actually made seven films and am working on my second feature though.

Ebert wrote "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" if memory serves.


ChrisR (11 years ago) Reply

If Project Cyclops did make a film, it would probably be better, Ritter. His review didn't trash the film gratuitously, it was fair and balanaced and he wanted to like the film if he could. Your comment is as stupid as someone going into a computer shop, buying a PC that doesn't work, and having the manager say 'let's see you make a PC then hot stuff'.

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