There’s nothing worse than a boring, mediocre movie. Bad movies offer their own pleasures, including unintentional laughter, and usually manage to avoid crippling boredom. They can be nearly as much fun to watch as a legitimately good movie.
Stormhouse is an example of boring mediocrity. It plods along, rarely rising to the level of so-bad-it’s-good while never presenting anything remotely unique or interesting. Everything about it feels borrowed, and at times it doesn’t even seem like the filmmakers are all that taken with their own film.
Set 4 months before the invasion of Iraq, viewers learn right away that the military has captured and imprisoned a supernatural entity in England. A prominent official in the British government has ordered some sort of Paranormal Investigator to visit the military base where the entity is being held.
The investigator, Hayley (Katie Flynn), has experience talking to ghosts and paranormal beings. Her presence has been requested partly because the entity disappeared after its capture and hasn’t been seen for months. The rest of the personnel involved with the project, including Major Lester (Grant Masters) and Justin (Patrick Flynn), believe the entity is still trapped but they don’t know for sure.
Hayley proceeds to talk to the entity in an effort to make contact. At one point she even sings to it. The entity remains hidden but displays an ability to control people’s behavior. It also informs Hayley that it wants to get out and play.
From this point on Stormhouse is completely predictable save for one thing. Major Lester has secrets and is a brute. The entity eventually escapes and wreaks havoc. It plays out exactly as you would expect.
Except for the terrorist, and this is where the movie comes close to entering so-bad-it’s-good territory. Major Lester says the man has plotted against various countries in Europe and wants to inflict serious damage upon them. He is a very bad man. So of course he is thrown into a cage with the entity. Lester does this because he believes the entity could somehow be used in the fight against terrorism.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for the movie to return to the expected. The entity gets out and body hops and kills people one at a time. Characters slowly walk around the facility and look for it. When they do get killed, there is very little blood/gore and the entity itself is only seen for a split second. That results in a whole lot of cheap boo scares and not much suspense.
There’s also the matter of the project itself. There is hardly anyone around. We are asked to believe that it is because of the upcoming Iraq invasion. Due to the war, hardly any personnel is available. This despite the fact that an actual paranormal entity has been discovered and captured. No matter, it is low priority.
Competently made (though a little too reliant on security camera footage), Stormhouse ultimately fails because it has such low ambitions. It seems like the filmmakers figured they could piggyback on the success of the Paranormal Activity movies, different enough to avoid rip-off accusations but similar enough to generate strong rentals/sales. It’s neither good nor terrible, and not worth making time for.