Storm Warning (2007)

Director Jamie Blanks
Writers Everett De Roche
Starring Nadia Fares, Robert Taylor, David Lyons, Mathew Wilkinson, John Brumpton
Genre Psycho
Tagline Survival Can Be Murder

Jamie Blanks, Urban Legend, Valentine, returned home to get some R&R after showing quite a bit of promise in Hollywood. Unfortunate about the movies he choose to work on while there really. Naturally you can't keep a good Director down, especially if a movie project involves local legend, scribe Everett De Roche. The resulting movie Storm Warning might be walking a well trodden path, but by heck Blanks makes a good looking movie and simply goes buck naked wild in the final half an hour. Almost makes me feel positive about the remake of Long Weekend, note I said almost there.

Talk us through it

A yuppie couple, Pia and Rob, decide to take out a boat to do a bit of fishing and probably get jiggy with it. Naturally a storm blows up and our thrill seekers find themselves swamped in the deep mangroves. Naturally Rob, being our nautical no hoper, directs the boat up what's clearly a drainage ditch and the couple end up high and dry with probably low tide or something going down. The water evaporates, don't ask. Unknown to our adventurers they are on an Island, but help is at hand with a farmhouse in the distance. That would be the farmhouse just passed a ute load of bogans beating the crap out of some unknown dude.

Naturally, never having seen a horror movie, our yuppie couple make like Goldilocks and check out the farmhouse that might soon drip blood. In their meandering search for a phone inside the house, they are out of luck there, Rob finds a shed full of enough marijuana to rise Bob Marley from the dead. Rob decides exiting stage left at warp factor nine might be a good idea but has left it a bit late as the three bears arrive home wondering who the flock has disrupted their inbred paradise. Guess you can work out the plot from there, bring on the victimisation, bring on the yuppie fight back, but let's not wake Poppy, that would be real bad.

Ready to throw on bip overalls and checkout the mangrove swamps?


"To catch a mad dog, you must think like a mad dog." - Pia

The first thing notable about Storm Warning is just how good the movie looks. Blanks has an eye for his Australian locations, involves them throughout, and delivers some awesome overhead camera work to firmly establish Pia and Rob's isolation as things go to hell very quickly for the couple. Even when we get into confined quarters, the house and barn, the sets are intricately presented giving the sharp eyed a whole bunch of stuff to focus on. Whether he is using the outside locations or the interior sets, Blanks throws on a movie with a limited budget that looks like it has a large Hollywood bankroll behind it.

If you have seen any of what seems like a constant stream of normal folk dealing with outback crazies then you have pretty much seen the first hour of this movie. Blanks takes time to get his couple to the farmhouse, maybe slightly too much time as that section of the movie drags a bit, and then gradually has an escalation of hostilities happening as Rob shows he is out of his element and Pia starts off as the frightened little French girl. The problem there is Blanks rushes Pia taking a cup of harden the flock up and it doesn't ring true as she goes all MacGyver on us as the situation worsens. I would have preferred to see Blanks tighten up on the opening act and then spend more time on the social niceties hillbilly brothers Jimmy and Brett dish up. Having said all that it's worth while sticking with Storm Warning as Director Blanks is just revving the engine before throwing the donk into drive with the final third of the movie that comes at you like a rottie smelling blood.

What Blanks does get right is the tension caused by just the right table spoon of anticipation. We don't meet Jimmy and Brett till the Director extracts every ounce of build up from the Bros entrance. The audience are left wondering just what Pia and Rob have got themselves into as Jimmy screams at them to get out of his house before he sorts it himself. Naturally Blanks does a slow build up of tension from there, with things gradually going from uncomfortable to down right scary, but keeps his main attraction, Poppy, off screen till late in the movie. If the Brothers Grimm are inbreed psychos, then what sort of person would you have to be to scare the crap out of them? Blanks doesn't disappoint with Poppy all wide eye and about as crazy as a cut snake. There's generations of inbreeding going down here folks.

Blanks allows the natural light and landscape of Australia to work for him, that would as opposed to Baz who decided for no apparent reason he should use CGI. In the wash-up who is the better movie maker? If you didn't say Baz then give yourself a gold star.

The final third of the movie sees Pia go all Ellen Ripley on us as she shows the same mentality the French rugby team shows in rucks and mauls. Besides an anti rape virginal device, a huge ouch there, we get one dude strung up with enough hooks to put Pinhead to shame, and all sorts of plot foreshadows coming home to sink their teeth into any flesh available. It's almost as if Director Blanks thought "enough with the freaking build up lets get some claret happening here. Oh to hell with it throw the stuff on by the bucket load". The final third of the movie isn't for the squeamish but I was cheering Pia on as she dealt with inbreeds left, right, and fracking center. Blanks doesn't take his foot off the accelerator peddle during the final block of the movie and dispenses with any sort of riding into the sunset shenanigans to the immense relief of the audience. Actually if I'm ever visiting Wolf Creek I want Pia along for the ride yo!

Everett De Roche is up to his normal high standard with the script, if you let the whole "making stupid decisions" yuppie couple through to the keeper. It's pretty logical how things go down and there is a pretty good reason why Pia and Rob aren't likely to be given a ride down to the local ferry. Things flow naturally though you will be left wondering how many mistakes one couple can make in the course of a day. It all serves the plot folks, but more attention to detail plot wise was needed.

Nadia Fares (Pia) throws on a performance that will have you cheering her on and hoping for the best for the gal. Fares owns the role and delivers a believable performance, with the slight proviso over the toughening up that goes down way too quickly. Robert Taylor (Rob) simply irritated me, for no apparently reason he reminded me of Nick Nolte, an actor I've never liked. David Lyons (Jimmy) and Mathew Wilkinson (Brett) throw on a decent turn as the inbreed brothers just wanting to entertain themselves by torturing the yuppies. Pretty standard roles really, didn't we already see them in Razorback? John Brumpton (Poppy) just went maniac and delivered a chilling performance as the psycho bogan from hell. Frack the man can put some spite into his lines when he wants to.

T&A is pretty light surprisingly, maybe Blanks has spent way too long in Boredwood, guys get Nadia Fares showing off her shapely hum, I was cheering there, while gals get the square root. Actually given the male casting that was probably a good thing.

Jamie Blanks did a John Carpenter and delivered the score himself. Overall it fits with the visuals with the only real criticism being that it's over dramatic and overused in places.

Sarkies does score well with a serious of vignettes highlighting the impact and actions of the various characters introduced during the first two thirds of the movie, they were a highlight for mine. Surprisingly he even elicits some sympathy for David Gray as the gunman lies dying while the tactical response squad take time out of there busy schedue to light up cigarettes.

Summary Execution

While admitting Storm Warning had some weak aspects I still managed to be entertained and got something of a thrill ride as things went down. Thankfully Director Blanks hasn't brought back the loud soundtrack announcing jump scenes schlock from Hollywood and delivers a tension laced excursion into psychoville without apology. Yeah I had some fun times but probably wont put this one on my Halloween viewing list. Bring on the remake of Lost Weekend, hang about what am I saying!

Didn't note any box office figures so guess Storm Warning had a limited enough budget to make it's cash back via DVD sales alone. That's surprising as Director Blanks turns in a polished movie that looks like it had a pretty big budget, guess the lack of Actor firepower helped with keeping costs down. The film is available fairly widely via DVD but is probably stocked more by your specialist outfit than your main street outlet.

Throwing off the shackles of Hollywood PG13 conveyer belt horror Jamie Blanks takes a script by the legendary Everett De Roche and throws on a movie for adults that is unapologetically brutal. If you don't like your movie fare with plenty of sauce then give this one a miss. Worth a visit but be careful what you might hook on this horror fishing trip.

ScaryMinds Rates this movie as ...

Solid if brutal horror flick that is worth catching.