This Aussie film follows a familiar horror formula. The normal set-up
is: on a stormy night illuminated by lightning, the car of the yuppie couple
breaks down on the side of the road and they have to take refuge in the
dilapidated old mansion/castle/farmhouse, where they encounter either sadists or
supernatural forces. Storm Warning's only minor variation on that theme comes
from the fact that the handsome and well scrubbed young couple (Aussie Robert
Taylor and Frenchwoman Nadia Fares) is out sailing instead of driving, and their
boat breaks down when they get lost in a serpentine mangrove swamp. The
farmhouse where they seek refuge turns out to be populated by the usual angry
inbred half-wits who appear in just about every American horror film these days.
You'd think that this family consisted of the official movie cliché version of
hygiene-challenged West Virginians, except that they are differentiated by their
Their house is quite an imaginative creation. It looks like a combination of
a haunted mansion, the filthy lair of a murderous madman, and the sets for the
Cabinet of Dr Caligari. The film's creators deliberately took the style
of this house over-the-top to make it walk the borderline between horrifyingly grotesque and
hilariously macabre. That particular sense of crazed élan lifted the film above the routine and gave the locale a surreal
quality that a more credible outlaw lair would have lacked.
The yuppies are tortured for the next hour or so by three fellows who are
obviously the product of many generations of brother-sister intermarriage, but
the yokels make the mistake of leaving the yuppies in the barn with a bunch of
tools and fishing gear, whereupon the city folks make like MacGyver and devise
some assorted weapons and Rube Goldberg contraptions to snare the unwitting
The film had exhausted the novelty appeal of the bizarre set design and was
absolutely running on empty until the yuppies started to fight back, and then
the filmmakers finally came up with enough creative ideas to lift Storm Warning to a
level above the genre norm. The deaths of the three rednecks are some of the
grisliest, nastiest, bloodiest, ugliest gore I've ever seen on screen. One of
them, for example, gets suspended from the ceiling in a web of fishing lines and big barbed hooks
which rip the flesh from his face, gouge his eyes ... well, you get the idea.
Another one goes to meet his maker through the fan blades of a large swamp boat.
And the third ... well, he tries to rape Nadia, and he gets an appropriate
punishment that will make every man in the audience cringe.
Overall, it's a film that is well worth the while of genre fans, despite the
hackneyed premise and characters. The locale and the last act give it enough
demented energy to stand above the pack.