Didn’t know what it wanted to be when it grew up.

Self Storage felt very much like a Tom DeNucci vehicle, especially at the beginning, when the director got to show off his Jake character’s prowess and multi-talents. I know this was meant to demonstrate Jake’s immature attitude towards work but it didn’t play like that to me. Instead it had this “look at what I can do” sort of thing, with hints of “Tarantino is my favourite director,” too. There were clumsy attempts at “cool” instead of going for real substance, which was a pity really because this film has a very good premise. DeNucci’s Self Storage was, and felt like a directorial debut, and while certainly watchable, just couldn’t decide what it truly was. The pacing was all wrong and disjointed, with a respectable first, shaky middle and poor final act. I also found myself rooting for the bad guys, in hope the Eric Roberts’ Walter would wipe out the annoying party-goers as I couldn’t sympathise with any of the miscreants, even our “hero” Jake.

Self Storage
Written and Directed by
Tom DeNucci
Tom DeNucci, Eric Roberts, Michael Berryman, Jonathan Silverman
Release Date
17 September 2013
Grade: C-

As far as acting goes it wasn’t too bad but again, felt like the were all allowed carte blanche with their characters and offered little input from the director, so played it all a touch heavy. I could be completely wrong but I don’t think so. The music went from cool to downright awful with nothing in between, and was just one such example of Tarantino’s influence gone awry, but there were other indicators too. I think Jonah (Jonathan Silverman) was an attempt at one of Quentin Tarantino’s cool bad guys but came off as another annoying and pointless character that could have been better developed and might have been an interesting one to find out what his other motivations were for dealing in body parts, other than the acquisition of money and cocaine.

It was good seeing Michael Berryman again as I haven’t seen anything by him in quite a while, and his character Trevor was the only other I gave a damn about. The story is about Jake, a procrastinator who prefers to mess around instead of doing his job. He not only works at the self storage but also lives in an old boat on the premises. The boss, Walter (AKA The Major, another pointless thread) has caught him on the many surveillance cameras having fun instead of working, and gives him yet another warning, telling him to grow up. Jake then overhears a conversation between The Major and Trevor where he learns he’s about to be out of a job. Jake phones his friends and invites them to come and party. The Major uses the self storage as a human chop-shop, dealing in hearts, livers, kneecaps (kneecaps?) etc. and discovers his human farm has been destroyed, he decides to re-stock with Jake and his cronies.

This is being tagged as a straight horror when it would have been way better as a horror comedy, the “get out of jail free card” for many filmmakers. I did enjoy parts of Self Storage but found myself tsk tsking too often to get into the the film properly, but it is still a watchable first attempt, and will actually be interested in seeing what Mr DeNucci’s new flick Army of the Damned looks like, but I’m sure will be a smoother ride than Self Storage was.

Review by Ed Blackadder, Special to Influx Magazine