Wednesday 18 February 2009

Dark Floors

I suppose it's only a matter of time until horror themed professionals who work outside film find a way in. Lordi is no exception. Formed in 1996, the Finnish metal band won the Eurovison song contest ten years later, in 2006. I was first introduced to their music later that same year. I fell instantly in love.

So when I found out Lordi was making a movie, I got pretty excited. Then I found out it wouldn't be out till 2008, and I calmed down some. Time passed and I kept my eyes open for any more news but I never heard or read anything more about the Lordi movie. Of course, I wasn't looking all that hard, but you know how it is.

And then it came to pass that I was standing in front of a DVD rental machine at Walmart. They had a whole bunch of horror movies for rent, many of them sporting the Ghost House logo. I made some snide comment and my companion told me their movies were pretty okay.

"Dark Floors? What the hell is that?" I asked, not really caring to hear an answer.
"That's the Lordi movie," said Brad.

Brad, at the time, didn't know that I knew about Lordi. He didn't know that I'd been waiting for this day for two years. I think he expected the typical follow-up question "who?" but instead I said something to the effect of "holy shit".

We didn't rent it.

It's been a couple of months since that fateful Walmart trip. I really don't know why it's taken me so long to get around to watching this film. Anticipation, I guess. Or maybe fear. And now that I've seen it, I can say that it was worth the wait. Dark Floors isn't terrifying or disgusting or even all that logical, but it is extremely creepy.

Sarah has got something wrong with her. Her father Ben, takes her to the hospital where she's undergoing a series of tests, but the doctors are having a hard time figuring out her sickness. Ben decides it's time to leave and he makes to sneak Sarah out at night. He's caught by Emily, one of the doctors. She follows them into the elevator, trying to talk Ben out of leaving. A power outage causes them to get caught between floors for a minute. When power is restored, they and the other passengers exit the lift only to find the hospital is now deserted. Ben and the others have to find a way out before the darkness that has taken over the place, and which manifests in the form of Lordi, will consume them as well.

Dark Floors is not an overly long movie, but its pacing creates the impression that more time is passing than really is. Though the tension doesn't exactly build to a crescendo, the general creepiness is evenly spread across the length of the film. As the group descends lower, trying to reach the ground floor, the hospital becomes more decrepit and more and more bodies line the halls. The effect is one of sustained uneasiness as we're constantly on edge, waiting for something to break the tension. And it's all the more powerful given that most mainstream horror films are made with the specific goal of jump-scaring their audience as much as possible. Long takes, slow or static camerawork, and a brooding score create a mysterious and threatening atmosphere--it's just not something you see or experience that much these days.

Little is explained to the audience about what, exactly, is happening and when the end comes it both resolves the story and raises more questions. This kind of ambiguity can be frustrating, but the movie as a whole is so well made, and I love Lordi so much that it does't really bother me that I'm not entirely sure I fully understand the film.

1 comment:

Dark Floors Online said...

This movie has been sitting around for months now waiting for me to watch it. I finally did, and I have to say I am very pleased. It is definitely reminiscent of, and rivals, Silent Hill.