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September 19, 2012

Movie Review: Elevator (2011)

Directed by Stig Svendsen

Starring Christopher Backus, Anita Briem and John Getz

Run Time: 81 minutes

In what starts out as a minor inconvenience, nine strangers on their way to a party in a Manhattan high-rise suddenly find themselves trapped in an elevator 49 floors up after a young girl's practical joke goes wrong. Their inconvenience gradually shifts from concern to fear and eventually panic as they discover that one of them is carrying a bomb. With time running out and help failing to arrive, desperate measures lead to bloody and shocking consequences as each and every one of them reveals what they are willing to do in order to survive.

In a movie like this, where nearly the entire film is focused in on such a small space (the inside of an elevator), the quality of the acting and script writing (whether good or bad) is going to be magnified, and will obviously make or break the story. And Elevator, for the most part, absolutely killed it on both counts. The interplay of the characters and the unfolding story-lines absolutely gives one the feeling that they are trapped right there alongside this desperate group of people in a worse-case scenario that scratches at a nerve many of us have, the fear of being stuck in an elevator. When you add to that the fact that one of them is packing a ticking time-bomb, say things get pretty fucking crazy would be an understatement.

This is a true white-knuckle thriller that gets the job done, not with tons of special effects and over-the-top stunts, but with engaging and believable characters. And although a few of those characters seemed to be a bit peripheral and under-developed, the work of John Getz as Henry Barton, the millionaire building owner, Shirley Knight, the grieving widow and defrauded investor and especially Joey Slotnick as the claustrophobic comedian, keep this one engaging  and fun from beginning to end. Racial tension, financial scandal, scorned lovers and revenge all help to drive the story-line to a shocking, sad and very satisfying climax. There really isn't much more you could ask for from a movie like this. And I am fairly certain for the rest of my life, every time I step into an elevator some part of this movie will pop into my head. Now how cool is that? This is one I would recommend to everybody. Go out, rent or buy it, pop some popcorn and have a good time.

8.5 out of 10

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