Down (The Shaft) Reviews
This film is a complete insult from beginning to end. Everything from the ridiculous premis, bad writing, sub-par acting to the use of every cheesy character profile and trite plot "twist" ever seen on film..is a little insulting.
Naomi Watts and Ron Perlman should thank their lucky stars that this didn't end up being the "career breaker" that it should have been.
I almost want people to see it so they will know JUST how bad it really is! I guess it's human nature? Kind of like when you taste something bad and say to your friend "OH!....taste this...it's horrible!
The elevator unexplainably starts and stops. And the buttons don't work. Ooooh, creepy. Fifteen minutes of vapid subplot filler. The elevator gets stuck with a group of pregnant women on board for a few minutes. Ooooh, creepy. Ten minutes of vapid subplot filler. When the doors open and there's no elevator there, a blind man steps right on up and falls to his doom. Ooooh, creepy. Ten more minutes of - - oh, well, you get the idea.
Eventually, believe or not, the President of the United States declares a national emergency and cordons off the area. Pseudo-investigative reporter Watts discovers - get this - the elevator's computer chips are made using human brain cells. Some gooey elevator ectoplasm is found.
Then when our unlikely and ill-equipped hero, the lonely elevator repairman, starts messing with the goo, the elevator gets really, really mad. Sheeesh.
The director - who was actually here rehashing his own earlier UK film "The Lift" to snag an easy paycheck - knew this stinker was DOA from the get-go, so he didn't even bother to inject any spooky score, fear-mongering SFX or elevator anthropomorphism.
Sometimes B-films are good for some campy fun - but this clunker can't even stake that claim. Don't let the marquee names bait you; even Naomi Watts completists won't miss a beat if they pass this one by.
Even so, I do appreciate Sci-Fi Channel's running this one at 3am, that being a valiant attempt to relieve me of my constant insomnia. If only it had worked.
RECOMMENDATION: Take the stairs and get out of the building. Now.
Starring: James Marshall, Naomi Watts, Ron Perlman, and Michael Ironsides
Director: Dick Maas
The express elevators in New York City's famous Millenium Building suddenly seem to develop minds of their own... and they are minds bent on murder! Will a slacker ex-Marine hunk turned elevator repairman (James Marshall) and a sexy, plucky girl tabloid reporter (over-acted by Naomi Watts) uncover the truth of what's happening, or will they fall victim to elevator industry cover-ups, mad scientists delving in Elevator Technology Man Was Not Meant to Know, and renegade killer elevators?
This often unintentionally funny horror movie features a script that should have gone through a draft or two more; copious overacting (everyone is SO over the top here that Michael Ironsides--featured in a small but pivotal part--seems subdued and restrained); and too many 'because the plot requires it' moments to count. There's enough interesting things here to keep the viewer's attention, but ultimately the movie is unsatisfying and lame, mostly because it has the killer elevators perform truly amazing and physically impossible feats without even bothering to attempt to explain how they manage to do it. (Sadly, one of my favorite killer elevator scenes is tied into one of these... the death of the obnoxious rollerblader. Yeah, sure... the building's express elevators have developed a mind of their own through the wonders of mad science, but how does that let them completely ignore the laws of physics?)
A fun film, if you can get it cheap or for free... and if you have absolutely nothing to do, or nothing better to watch.