Elevator (2011)

Elevator 2011Starring Christopher Backus, Anita Briem, John Getz, Shirley Knight, Amanda and Rachel Pace, Devin Ratray, Joey Slotnick, George Axelrod, Tehmina Sunny, Waleed Zuaiter

Directed by Stig Svendsen

Claustrophobia: claus·tro·pho·bi·a – Noun: Extreme or irrational fear of confined places. Lots of people all over the world suffer from this sometimes debilitating condition, and let me say this to you now: If you have this affliction, stay the hell away from the new thriller from Stig Svendsen, Elevator.

The story is really simple – nine people get on an elevator. On the way up to a penthouse party said elevator ends up stalling nearly fifty floors up. Through a series of twists and turns, we discover that one of the now stuck occupants is armed with a bomb. A bomb that cannot be disarmed. One that could go off at any moment. What would you do, and how far would you go to survive? Those are the main questions asked by this flick, but it’s so much more than that.

When Elevator first came across our desks, we immediately thought, “Great. This is Devil with explosives.” That’s really doing the film a disservice. Elevator is a deftly written character study that taps into our innermost fears and gleefully visits some of the darkest corners of the human psyche. Director Stig Svendsen uses the confines of the small area to its full potential, and by the time that you get to the blood-soaked third act, you’re going to find yourself white-knuckled with your jaw on the floor.

A special mention has to go to actors Joey Slotnick and Amanda and Rachel Pace. The relationship their characters share leads to some of the most hilariously inappropriate moments of the film. Truly good stuff.

It’s not all good, however. There are a couple of logic gaps to deal with here and there such as why the police weren’t summoned immediately or why the guy stationed at the building’s security desk just decided to stop answering the help buzzer. These few instances serve to take you out of the reality of the situation. Thankfully not for long though. Also, after a really jarring finale there’s an epilogue scene that diminishes some of the film’s punch. Being that this review is of an early cut of the movie, hopefully these things can be changed and tweaked.

Elevator is a taut, intense, and surprisingly violent little movie that is home to some great performances, awesome sound design (just try not to cringe during the flick’s finale), and some truly slick thrills. In the end it hits the mark way more than it misses and easily ranks up there with some of the year’s best thrillers.

3 1/2 out of 5

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Steve Barton

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  • The Woman In Black

    I concur with Creepy – this was a fun ride that is definitely above average with some great performances. Lose the tacked on ending, and you’ve got a real winner.