Reviewed 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.
As 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.
What 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.
2 1/2 out of 5
2 1/2 out of 5
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