Reviewed by: Dave Murray
What's it about
Rob (Robert Taylor) and Pia (Nadia Farès), a well off yuppie couple from the city, get lost in the ocean while boating during a storm. They end up trapped in the house of some Aussie island hillbillies who have a thing for kidnap, torture, degradation and sex with farm animals. Oh, and they're also growing massive amounts of dope, which makes these inbred crazies some very very bad men. For this couple, their search for help becomes a fight for survival, and in the end into one hell of a nasty dose of revenge!
Is it good movie?
From the DVD cover, I wasn't expecting much of Storm Warning. From all angles it looked like it was going to be just another "torture horror" jerk around, with gore for no reason and a paper thin story. However, some of the previous releases from the Dimension Extreme name have been pretty good (Welcome To The Jungle and Black Sheep among them), and the name and talent of director Jamie Blanks (Urban Legend), who had returned to his native Australia to make this, had me intrigued. What I saw when I watched the film was a well crafted, well written, finely acted and seriously tense piece of bloody horror goodness. The characters were believable and the two victims turned survivors were convincing and sympathetic. The story was logical and entertaining, even if it was another grimy look at how intrinsically evil hillbillies are! The flick has mood and atmosphere, and tension galore, thanks to a slick and dark look and a killer soundtrack. And despite the fact that there are only four kills in the movie, they are all so f*cking excellent that they need to be seen, if only for the visceral pleasure of seeing these bastards die in such nasty ways. Every horror fan can appreciate these kills for their originality, inventiveness and shear bloody brutality.
The movie got underway with a light and happy tone, as the couple went boating and got lost in a storm. Then things picked up interest and a little tension when they found an island, an empty house and a shitload of pot! Score! That is until the residents of the house show up, two inbred brothers and their "Poppy", who it turns out is even more of a sick bastard than his sons are. The eldest son, Jimmy (David Lyons), is the smarter of the two, with a little more of a cruel and sadistic streak than his challenged brother Brett (Mathew Wilkinson), and it's he that orchestrates the confinement and debasement of Rob and Pia. The boys live in perpetual fear of their father, but when Poppy wakes up, he sets in motion an even worse chain of nightmarish events, eventually forcing Pia to fight back in the only ways she can, and with all that she has. The acting here is really top notch. One scene that is so disturbing in its simplicity (the boys watching bestiality porn with their dad) sums up the general feel of this movie. It disturbs you even when nothing truly disturbing is happening on screen, and it's the little touches or flares of improvisation or creativity (such as having one of the boys snuggled up to his dad casually rubbing his own crotch while watching said animal porn) that alternately gross you out or disturb you. A great example is when Jimmy tells Pia, right before he and brother Brett are going to rape her, "You'll be the first human female my brother's ever f*cked". Now that's downright nasty!
This is a tense and entertaining movie, and it's all a build up to the final reel, which is when the brutal revenge kicks in and things get cranked up more than a few notches. This is reflected in the tone of the movie (from bleak and hopeless to stark and lively) and in the score as well. It's also where we get some excellent gore scenes. The method Pia uses to protect herself from being raped by Poppy is just sheer genius, and plausible too (if you watch the teaser trailer on this DVD, you can see just what the object with the sharp lid is, and why it is totally believable, despite what the kids on some internet messaqe boards think). On the stale side, since the movie is mostly a build up to the big climax, the torture of the couple is mostly verbal. It's like the degradation is all talk and no show. As well, some of the gore is a little implausible (a booby trap consisting mostly of fishing line, while very cool and sick, stretches my suspension of disbelief just a little too much). But on the whole, Storm Warning is a well made, entertaining movie with a decent enough script, some excellent gore in the final 20 minutes, and some good acting. It's definately not what I was expecting, and it's much better than the other torture/revenge flicks that it's inevitably going to be compared to, so it deserves to be seen and judged on its own merits.
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen - 1.85:1. The flick is dark and moody, and it looks sweet on this DVD.
Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1) and Subtitles in English and Spanish. The sounds, especially the score, really enhances the overall mood of the movie.
There is an Audio Commentary by a whole room full of folks, including Blanks, Taylor, writer Everett Deroche, producers Mark Pennell and Pete Ford, cinematographer Karl Von Moller, production designer Robby Perkins and FX guy Justin Dix. It's a little bit too crowded and busy for my tastes, but the parts with Blanks and Taylor are interesting, as are the gore bits near the end and Dix's comments. Aside from that, there is the Theatrical Trailer and a very excellent Teaser Trailer, which hints at one of the film's nastier scenes in fine fashion.
Dimension Extreme seem to be putting out some quality films, most of which are either better made, gorier or funnier than other horror flicks being made recently. Storm Warning is no exception, and just further proof that Australians know their horror. This is a taut, cleverly plotted and well acted psycho mindscrew with a killer climax and some great, satisfying gore scenes. What more could you want from a horror flick? Well, more boobs, more blood, less bestiality references. But I'm just being picky. Booby traps and inbred islanders will do just fine. Check this one out, it's a great addition to a series that showcases some quality films.