Nicolas Winding Refn Bringing the Elisa Lam Story to the Big Screen?

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If you haven’t heard about the truly mysterious case of Elisa Lam, consider yourself lucky as it’s haunted me ever since the news broke back in 2013. Simply put, the story is the most frighteningly weird one I’ve ever heard of. Right now we have an update regarding the big screen telling.

According to Deadline, Nicolas Winding Refn is in early talks to direct The Bringing, the horror movie spec by Brandon and Phillip Murphy that Sony Pictures acquired in a competitive bidding battle in February. Matt Tolmach is producing with First Born Films’ Daniela Cretu.

This is the one that got the town whipped into a frenzy partly because its catalyst was a widely circulated video of a young woman who displayed erratic behavior in an elevator at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, the place such killers as Richard Ramirez called home at one time or other and where numerous suicides have occurred. The woman, Elisa Lam, was found dead in a water tank on the roof of the hotel. The script has nothing really to do with that tragedy, but it created a germ of an idea focusing on a man investigating a death at the hotel and the nightmare he stumbles into.

Refn must have seen the video (which you can watch below) because while the director of Drive, Valhalla Rising, and Bronson is usually courted for projects, he sought this one out from his Copenhagen home; he is a horror connoisseur who badly wants to make a terrifying film.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this case…

Lam, who was only 21, was last seen at the Cecil Hotel on January 31st, 2013, according to L.A. police. Her parents had reported her missing, and her body was discovered, nude and floating in the water tower of the hotel (a drinking source for residents), where she apparently was for two weeks. Now, if you can believe it, here’s where the story gets REALLY disturbing.

Lam’s final moments were caught on the elevator security camera of the hotel. The footage you see below was taken moments before her death. In it you’ll see Lam acting very strangely. She appears to be running from or hiding from someone… or something. Most perplexing about the video is that the door stays open the entire time, nearly four minutes. Then Lam contorts into some really frightening way that has to be seen to really be described, and the elevator doors shut. Then open and shut several times before the video ends. Watch the video, and then I’ll tell you about how this story gets even stranger.

A maintenance worker discovered the body while looking into complaints about the water pressure in the building. Guests had been drinking and bathing with water contaminated by a body that had been decomposing for nearly two weeks. So how did she get there? The water tower on top of the building was 15 feet high and locked. To gain access to said tower, Lam would have had to have passed silently through two locked and alarmed doors first. Apparently she did so. All doors were still locked. No alarms were ever tripped. There are 100’s of stories about this on the internet reported by every reputable news agency that there is. Some people say she was possessed or attacked by a ghost. If this is the case, then this is the only known footage of such an occurrence.

In the end her death was ruled as “accidental.” Mind you, her clothes were never found. Nothing about this story makes any sense.

Here are more videos on the incident:

Sony Bringing Elisa Lam's Haunting and Frightening Tale to the Big Screen

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  • nbc12764

    Sorry, but I have to call BS on any idea of a haunting, not to mention the use of hyperbole in the article. I watched the video, and in no way does she contort in a way that must be seen to be believed. I saw a woman, possibly drunk, talking with her hands. That’s it.
    As far as the doors, I can’t be sure of course, but elevator doors occasionally get stuck. Nothing there.
    As far as locked and alarmed doors, those things can be disabled. Usually the building super or the owner has the ability to do such.

Steve Barton

You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.