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Dark Floors (DVD)

Dark Floors DVDReviewed by Johnny Butane

Starring Lordi, Skye Bennett, Noah Huntley, Dominique McElligott

Directed by Pete Riski

Distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment


I’ll admit it, I was actually looking forward to this from the moment it was announced. I had never heard Lordi before I saw them at Rock and Shock last year, but still the idea intrigued me; use the monstrous makeup they were so well known for to actually be monsters. Brilliant!

Well, “brilliant” isn’t the right word, actually. Boring is a good word. Uninspired is another. While Dark Floors isn’t nearly as bad as some have proclaimed it to be (most who saw it at Fantasia said it was a “piece of shit”), it’s also not nearly as fun or cool as it should’ve been.

The premise is simple; a father is sick of the medical care his autistic daughter is receiving at her current hospital and aims to get her out. Tonight. He gets on the elevator to whisk her way along with a nurse, security guard, a visitor and a homeless guy. How eclectic! On the way down the elevator stops for a few moments, and when it finally opens again the hospital is deserted. Or is it?

No, it’s not. Roaming its halls are strange monsters who look oddly like they’re about ready to play a gig in a metal band. Apparently they’re after the aforementioned daughter, Sarah (Bennett) and will stop at … actually they don’t really try very hard at all to get her, to be honest. This gaggle of survivors wander the halls for quite some time without running into any of them, and when they do the first one is beaten back with an X-ray machine. Not exactly formidable for being demons.

Dark Floors reviewAs they wander, we get to know the characters. As we get to know them, we wish they’d just hurry up and get picked off already. No one is especially good or bad, per se, but the father Ben (Huntley) has some of the most inane dialogue I’ve ever heard spoken. And it gets even worse when he starts talking to the nurse, Emily (McElligott), who can’t emote to save her life. Freaky thing, though; if Noah Huntley isn’t the character model most of the leads in the Silent Hill games are based off of, especially the fourth game, I will be a monkey’s uncle. I don’t know what the means, really, but the point is this guy’s a dead ringer for a Silent Hill hero.

And this is not the only similarity to the popular survival horror series. They’re in a hospital, first of all, which goes from clean and normal to rotting and disgusting in the blink of an eye. All that’s missing are the staggering, faceless nurses and you’ve got a weird unofficial SH entry.

Dark Floors reviewWhat Dark Floors does have going for it is it’s budget, reportedly the largest ever for a Finnish movie. Some really cool effects, both visual and practical, are pulled off, and the film looks like nothing if not professional. Thankfully they avoided the temptation to use Lordi’s music throughout, as it only appears over the end credits, and the score was passable. Too bad the story didn’t lend to my enjoyment of the film; it just had too many damn gapping holes in it.

I mean, seriously, how many times does the autistic girl have to draw a pictures of a monster right before said monster attacks before someone realizes she might have a better idea of what’s going on than most? How many cryptic things does the homeless man need to say before some grabs him by the shoulders and shakes him until he produces some answers? And what kind of hospital switches a little girl’s medication to something that she’ll die without and not tell her father? These are only some of the logic gaps persistent throughout Dark Floors, and they’re not even the most obvious ones.

The DVD itself is a Lordi fan fiesta! Mr Lordi and Pete Riski are on the commentary, and then we have several Lordi music videos, live performances and interviews by Lordi that were filmed at the flick’s premiere, and capping things off is your standard behind-the-scenes featurette.

Despite having some issues, but it also has some great effects, cool monsters and as much gore as one would expect from a Finnish monster movie. Not a classic by any means, but probably a film you and your friends can enjoy with a beer or two if you’re not expecting much.

Special Features

  • Audio commentary by Pete Riski and Mr. Lordi
  • Behind-the-scenes featurette
  • Dark Floors Premiere featurette
  • Lordi music videos

    Film:

    2 1/2 out of 5

    Special Features:

    2 1/2 out of 5

    Discuss Dark Floors in the Dread Central forums!

  • Johnny Butane

    • UKLFC

      Well, I don’t know if any of you are Lordi fans or not, but this WAS one of the most anticipated films for quite a few of us.

      Yes, it’s confusing, yes, it’s a bit shit in places, yes, it’s formulaic. But, considering it was directed by someone whos used to four minute music video directing, and a band who have little or no acting experience, working on a budget that must seem like peanuts to most Americans. And you have a half-decent, watchable film.

      I’ll also take it as a guess that the majority of you here have only barely heard of Lordi, and mostly proclaming them to be a GWAR rip off. Could be true, probably not though, since GWAR go for shock, and Lordi go for entertainment.

      Oh yes, the final piece of the puzzle. I am also guessing that hardly any of you have see “The Kin”, a 30 minute short film written by Mr Lordi and included with the doubledisc and dualdisc format copies of The Monsterican Dream. More confusing than formulaic, this leaves more questions open than they are answered. Maybe you should also be looking at this, as a differing example of what they are capable of.

      I’ll then leave you with this. If Mr Lordi HAD written Dark Floors, would the film have had nore potential or less? Watch “The Kin” , and you could get some idea of how this film COULD have been

    • The Butcher

      Kudos Johnny. I tried to write something about this film in the way of a review a few weeks ago and couldn’t find enough to even hang a critique on. It’s just…empty.

      And nonsensical. (sp?)

    • Blockbuster

      I watched this awhile back…I liked it and I didn’t like it. It felt kinda drawn out, the ending didn’t make too much sense, and I was expecting a LOT more of the monsters than did show up…when they did show, it was pretty cool, but still…and as far as the Silent Hill references: YES. Yes. Yes. This was almost a SH ripoff. It had its creepy moments, but I left unimpressed…and I’m the kinda guy that watches a movie for popcorn value. I kinda wish there was some Lordi music in there ala Leatherface: TCM III or Return of the Living Dead. I think it might have made the mood a little different…of course, it probably would have made it worse. Who knows.