Self Storage (2013)
Written and directed by Tom DeNucci
Self Storage marks the directorial debut of filmmaker Tom DeNucci. Working from his own script, DeNucci manages to put together a film that is entertaining and effective. And although it is a bit rough around the edges in parts, Self Storage will certainly keep you intrigued throughout.
One of the strengths of Self Storage is the subject matter. The harvesting and selling of human organs and other body parts. Not what you would expect from your typical horror-comedy. And that’s what Self Storage is, a horror-comedy. The movie spends as much time trying to make the audience laugh as it does trying to scare us.
With an ’80s style feel to it, the movie is shot almost entirely in a self-storage facility, which our bad guy, The Major (played coolly by veteran actor Eric Roberts), uses as a front for his organ harvesting work. He’s the best in the business from what we learn, and he’s sufficiently brutal to pull off the job. The Major’s right-hand man is Trevor (Michael Berryman) and together they’re about to pull off a huge sale. Unfortunately, The Major’s slacker-stoner night watchman, Jake (DeNucci) is unknowingly fucking up the whole deal.
As all fans of horror know, there is no more slippery slope to tread than that of the horror-comedy. It’s very difficult to find the right balance between the two contrasting genres and come up with a successful film. In the case of Self Storage, they get it about right. DeNucci’s own performance in the heroic title role of Jake delivers the majority of the comedy. He’s definitely a charismatic performer and the camera loves him. And another actor who is certainly no stranger to comedy in his own right, Jonathan Silverman, does double-duty in a role that requires both his comedic talents and a little bit of strong-arm in the climax of the film. It was a quality effort on both parts.
You can’t have a quality film without a decent bad guy. Roberts fits the role nicely as the twisted home surgeon. He’s is great as one of the centerpieces of Self Storage, creating a character that is delivers ‘the goods’ by any means necessary. Berryman is equally entertaining as Trevor and the two have some impressive scenes together. Berryman gives us some fun laughs, but is at his best when he turns on the scary. He’s intense as both the hunter and the hunted in this film.
Self Storage carries a decent amount of decent F/X and DeNucci shot them smartly. The kill scenes are done well, however there are just a few moments where the F/X don’t seem to quite match the kill, but they are mostly inconsequential. What does stand out is the quality work that was done on Roberts’ surgery scenes. They were up close and personal and nicely done. And in instances where the filmmakers decided to go with cutaway scenes, they replaced it with some slickly shot, Rob Zombie-esque type of transition piece.
As this was DeNucci’s directorial debut and an indie project, it does have its shortcomings. Some of the scenes feel a little stiff, especially early developmental scenes in the office of the storage facility. And, as we often see in smaller films that carry a cast mixed with veteran actors and relative newcomers, a discrepancy in the acting talent becomes apparent. When compared to the performances of Roberts, Silverman, Berryman and even DeNucci, some of the greener cast members appear a bit wooden.
That being said, Self Storage manages to cover up any flaws with impressive charisma. Both DeNucci and Roberts are very entertaining as the respective evil and righteous characters in the film. And Silverman and Berryman provide excellent support. You’ll even see Nick Principe as one of Silverman’s hired guns. He teams with Billy ‘V’ Vigeant to make for an imposing security team.
This is the third film from Woodhaven Productions and the best of the bunch thus far. DeNucci has promise on the screen and off. From the intro featuring wrestling legend Tommy Dreamer right through to the unavoidable conclusion, Self Storage is fun and entertaining. What more can you ask for, right?
3 out of 5