STORM WARNING is one of the most brutal and savage thrillers you'll ever see. The plot has been done about a million times, but the director and five actors manage to stand the story on its head and give it a few new spins that will make your hair stand up.
The conceit of the movie is simple: Pia (Nadia Fares) and Rob (Robert Taylor) are an upwardly mobile couple in Australia who go for a bit of sailing and end up lost in dangerous territory. Pia is an artist and Rob is a lawyer, and neither of them are suited for what they encounter in this film.
The screenplay was written over 30 years ago, but was thought too violent to produce, so it never got made till now. After viewing the film, I have to agree about the violence. This is mean, bitter stuff that will take a truly stouthearted viewer to watch.
I also had to admit that the scenery is breathtaking. The Australian setting is absolutely beautiful. With the way the director slowly pulls the audience into the madness that's about to erupt, there's plenty of time to enjoy the local flora and fauna. I have to admit that the pacing was, at times, almost too slow. But once the story got up and running, you couldn't break away from the screen.
While running from the storm and hoping to get their bearings, Pia and Rob reach a remote farmhouse. After breaking in, they quickly discover that there is nothing normal about anyone that lives there. Sex toys lay out in the open and pages ripped from skin magazines decorate the walls. I knew at that point that only bad things could happen.
Just minutes later, Rob discovers a huge amount of marijuana growing in the barn. He realized at the same time I did that whoever lived there couldn't afford to let them escape. And at that moment, the rough men they'd seen earlier arrived back at the house.
This is when the movie really ratchets up. I knew things were about to go south quickly, and from that moment until the end of the movie, I never took a relaxed breath.
The menace grows slowly, almost like the tightening of a vise, and it won't let the viewer go. I was mesmerized by what Pia and Rob had to deal with. One of the worst parts was the fate of the joey, the baby kangaroo. Although I could understand it, the idea of what took place is still stomach-wrenching.
One of the worst aspects was the gradual build-up of the violence. I totally understood how everything could escalate and be so bad. And I understood the steps Pia and Rob had to take to ensure their safety. Watching all of it was hard, and there was a definite mix of vindication and horror elicited on my part.
The fishing lure trap in the barn is going to set the teeth of a lot of viewers on edge. It was horribly hard to watch, and the subsequent beating later - complete with all the special effects - was difficult.
STORM WARNING is recommended only for horror fans and suspense junkies that like blood and realistic effects. The tense atmosphere is amazing, but the violence is drastic. The director, Jamie Blanks (URBAN LEGEND), clearly knew what he wanted and got it. Although a lot of the low-budget horror films end up with a grainy finish, STORM WARNING looks slick and pretty. A top-notch thriller that draws blood.