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You decide to take the little lady for a little boating excursion off the coast of Australia, when some storm clouds roll in, forcing you to take shelter on a nearby island. Problem is, that island is as far from civilization as it can possibly get, and the only signs of life is a house in the boondocks. And the problem with that are the people living in said house, who besides not liking outsiders much, has a secret in their woodshed out back. The same woodshed that our innocent tourist couple just stumbled into…
And so begins the adventures of Rob (Robert Taylor) and Pia (Nadia Fares), a European Yuppie couple (he’s a Brit lawyer, she’s a French artist) vacationing somewhere in Australian waters. The house the couple ends up in is inhabited by inbred brothers Jimmy (David Lyons) and Brett (Mathew Wilkinson). Legend has it that Brett has never had sex with a human female, although it is assume he’s had sex with females of other species. The house is run with an iron fist by Poppy (John Brumpton), who doesn’t mind putting those iron fists to good use when his boys disappoint him, which seems to be quite often.
“Storm Warning” is directed by Jamie Blanks, primarily known for American teen slasher films (“Valentine”, “Urban Legends”) and written by Everett De Roche, who also wrote the Radha Mitchell sea-faring horror film “Visitors”. Their collaboration is a retread of the familiar Backwoods Horror genre, where city slickers run afoul of inbred killers in the backwoods of civilization and must reach deep down for their survival instincts in order to prevail. “Storm Warning” follows the genre’s conventions pretty much down to the letter, although that in itself is not an entirely bad thing.
Running at a breezy eighty minutes, give or take a couple of minutes for opening and closing credits, “Storm Warning” has no real ambition other than to present its tale of woe and get right down to the nitty gritty — that is, the Third Act, when the city slickers fight back. The fighting part is up to Nadia Fares, an excellent actress of genre fare, having previously been in the bodycount-a-second action thriller “The Nest”. Set up as the hero, Robert Taylor’s Rob actually ends up taking a back seat as Fares’ Pia rises to the challenge, including the invention of a rather novel ambush that has to be seen to believe.
“Storm Warning” is obviously not a film that will take the genre to a new level, and truth be told, I don’t think such thoughts ever entered into the minds of the filmmakers. Nevertheless, it’s an above average entry that delivers the goods, with a number of truly bloody kill scenes, including near-death by fish hooks, death by hammer, and of course, the fanbase favorite, bloodletting by impromptu contraceptive. Besides Nadia Fares, the film’s standout is the darkly lit production design, with the film forever blanketed by night, thunderstorms, and neverending sleeks of rain. What better environment for a grisly Backwoods Horror film?
The best that can be said about “Storm Warning” is that it gives its core audiences what they want. Which is also the worst that can be said about the film; it doesn’t offer anything else to anyone outside of the genre fanbase. Again, that in itself isn’t such a bad thing, as anyone who reads the film’s logline will either avoid it based on the plot descriptions alone, or run right towards it because of it. In that sense, the film certainly knows its terrain and where its bread and butter lies, and delivers as a result.
Jamie Blanks (director) / Everett De Roche (screenplay)
CAST: Nadia Farès … Pia
John Brumpton … Poppy
Robert Taylor … Rob
David Lyons … Jimmy
Mathew Wilkinson … Brett