Jamie Blanks, director of Storm Warning, is someone you could argue has been held down by "the system." Blanks has worked mostly within strict Hollywood guidelines, previously churning out by-the-numbers, mid-'90s slashers such as Urban Legend and Valentine with the main goal being to amass as much money as possible for each respective studio. He's done his part but has gotten virtually nowhere.
His latest endeavor, Storm Warning, is a bit different. While the aforementioned films were of a much higher budget, Storm Warning is a low budget, independent Australian horror/thriller that plays the backwoods psychos vs. high society yuppies angle and - being an independent picture - Blanks seems to have had much more creative control over the project.
First and foremost, Storm Warning isn't romanticized Hollywood fare and it certainly is not for everyone. Many will hate Storm Warning and few will love it. The overtly disturbing subject matter on display here — that of the mental and physical torture of two innocents at the hands of a group of deranged backwoods rednecks — is not something that a lot of folks care to watch. The film is brash, in-your-face, uncompromising, and quite unnerving. It lacks a certain refinement - most likely from budget deficiency - and the world Blanks creates is nothing short of ugly. But that is not a bad thing.
Though Blanks has proven himself a talented director with various visuals tricks and sometimes odd imagery, Storm Warning's budget certainly doesn't allow it to be the most stylish horror film one's ever encountered. Blanks focuses most of his attention, rather, on creating tension and ambience through angles and lighting. But when there's violence, particularly protagonist on antagonist violence, Blanks makes sure we see everything. His villains are despicable human beings that we loathe by film's end; their highly unjustified treatment towards our rather likeable hero and heroine ensures that they will get what they deserve. And when they finally do... it's a joy to watch.