Movie Reviews 48 – Elevator movies

It was only recently that I watched the M. Night Shyamalan penned Devil, a decent horror movie set almost entirely in a an elevator. But on a recent shopping trip I came home with a movie called Elevator and within days found yet another by the same title. The funny thing about all these ‘Elevator’ movies is that you know they’re all going to be about being trapped in one, but who you put in there and the exact circumstance can go so many directions. So here are two ways it can play out.

Elevator (2008)
If getting stuck in an elevator isn’t bad enough, how about getting stuck in a elevator that is in an abandoned building? Not bad enough? OK. Throw in the fact that nobody knows you’re there. That’s the predicament faced in this Romanian movie about a guy and girl get seeking out a place for a little hanky-panky. They’re not even girlfriend and boyfriend but more like acquaintances and only get to know each other a bit more while stuck. But the situation is very bleak and the movie is understandably dark. It’s played out as realistically as possible and is very shocking as you realize this could indeed be a real life situation. With only two people there is very little in the way for characterization and the movie is more about basic survival needs for air, food, bodily functions (no, not the kind that got them into trouble in the first place) along with lot of screaming and banging and a bit of resting. One small drain hole ends up being their last hope. A desperate last ditch effort is played out until the very last second of the movie in which the viewer finds out if they live or die. It makes me want to make sure I always let someone know where I’m going before I step into an elevator.

Elevator (2011)
An exclusive party at the top of The Barton high rise building, has nine partygoers screened for ID before they even get into the elevator headed for the penthouse. We have the security guy of Arabic descent (yeah you can almost hear the jokes that will come out for that), an elderly lady, a comic with an attitude that was a last minute substitution, a young executive and his lovely fiancee, an obviously overweight executive, a petite woman who is pregnant, and Mr. Barton himself, the owner of the building who’s got his bratty grandchild daughter in tow. The tension builds up even before the elevator door closes as the snotty comedian brings up his ‘mild claustrophobia’ as the people pile in. The bratty kid pulls the emergency stop just to annoy the comedian but that puts a permanent kink on the elevator trapping the group in. The rescue call is put out but in the interim there is a lot of wrangling among the crowd. But when the old lady has a heart attack, her final words mentioning a bomb more than rattles the occupants when they find out she wasn’t kidding and has one securely strapped to her now dead body. Plenty of words are exchanged as the whole story of why she had the bomb slowly unravels, but things get very bloody as well as the group tries to find a solution. While I enjoyed the story as a whole there are plenty of groaner moments that keep this movie from being anything great. There are quite a few mental lapses from the characters that just don’t make sense and the script is dreadful in many parts. For one thing the claustrophobic comedian who seems like he is on the verge of exploding at the beginning of the nightmare seems to have completely forgotten his phobia later when everyone else is in hysterics and he even throws a bunch of one-liners when the situation is notably worse. Other instances in the dialogue seem to ignore the whole bomb thing altogether for a few moments. The only good thing is that there is no clear ending in which either they are all saved or they all die. You’re going to have to watch it all to determine the outcome. Quite frustrating when the movie does things right until you hit the sillier aspects.

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