Elevator (2011)

*. What a disaster. One of the worst movies I’ve seen in a long time, and I’ve seen some dogs. Honestly, if I had a rating system where I scored movies on a scale from 1 to 10 I’d be struggling to think of a reason why this would deserve a 1.
*. Why is it so awful? Incoherence and stupidity.
*. The set-up: a group of nine people are stuck between floors in a malfunctioning elevator. One of then is wearing a bomb. Will the others escape? How?
*. You may be hoping for suspenseful drama in the great tradition of Hitchcock’s Lifeboat. One of the characters actually says that being in the elevator is sort of like Lifeboat. Some reviewers picked up on this not-so-subtle hint and found the movie “Hitchockian.” Apparently an allusion to Hitchcock is all it takes to be Hitchcockian. Aren’t we better than that? (Answer: No.)
*. Incoherence. What I mean by this, mainly, is tonal incoherence. We go lurching from thrills to comedy and back again without any rhyme or reason. But the thrills aren’t scary and the attempts at comedy aren’t funny. Indeed, everyone in the elevator even says that the angry comic (Joey Slotnick) isn’t funny. There’s also Devin Ratray on hand as the funny fat guy, but he isn’t funny either. Then there’s an ineffectual security guard with a knife he uses to clean his fingernails and that they later have to use to saw a corpse in half. I guess that could have been funny, but it isn’t.
*. The characters are also inconsistent. The comic is introduced as a hotheaded bigot who proceeds to down a flask of booze and then . . . turns nice, even to the little girl who is responsible for the mess everyone is in!
*. Could you murder a child? This movie will sure make you want to. Madeline is awful. Are we meant to feel any sympathy for her, even at the end? That’s too big a stretch for me.
*. As for the stupidity, I just couldn’t believe a minute of what was happening. It’s a prestigious Manhattan office building but when the elevator gets stuck nobody can do anything. The desk help even gets tired of the owner of the building buzzing them and just hangs up. Then, when the situation is broadcast on the evening news, it takes half an hour for a bomb squad to actually make it to the elevator! Which they open with machine guns drawn! What’s the bomb going to do, fire at them?
*. Or take the scene where they’re checking to see if the dead woman had a bomb on her. Why is this dragged out for so long? If they think she might have had a bomb, wouldn’t they be impatient to find out? In a bit of a rush?
*. The best that can be said about the ending is that they didn’t try to tie everything up with a tidy epilogue. Instead, they don’t bother addressing any of the issues raised. Will the engaged couple get back together? Will the guy who lost his arm even live? Will the tycoon make good on his promise to pay everyone a million bucks? What about the pregnant lady and her baby?
*. Well, at least we know what happens to the chubby man. “I guess I’m the hero.” No, you’re not the hero. You did nothing. You were too fat to get out of the elevator. How does that make you a hero? Because heroes always die?
*. But then is there anyone on this elevator we’re supposed to be cheering for, or who we’re even hoping will live? Yes, things really are that grim. If you want to watch a somewhat decent movie about a bunch of people trapped in an elevator you might want to check out Devil. But whatever you do don’t get on this lift.

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