Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
Plot: Supernatural horror based on the eponymous online phenomenon; a ritual is conducted in an elevator in which players attempt to travel to another dimension using a set of rules that can be found online.
Review: Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. This is the mantra that immediately started playing in my head from the opening scene of a young woman entering an elevator with the aim of opening a doorway to another dimension.
Strangely enough, (or not that strange considering my love of horror), I had heard of this particular urban legend beforehand. You enter an elevator, and you press the buttons to various floors in a specific order. Once you’ve reached a certain floor and the doors open you have to keep your eyes closed and your mouth shut until the doors close less you piss off the demonic entity supposedly hiding in the shadow realm, waiting to separate your soul from your body.
In the film a group of social media types have a web series where they test and debunk urban legends. When a young man named Ryan joins the group, he convinces them to play the “elevator game” but unbeknownst to the group Ryan is using them to investigate the disappearance of his sister who also played the game and hasn’t been seen since.
The setup is actually a fun one for a horror movie and director Rebekah McKendry does a solid job of making it quite creepy…in places. With an obviously modest budget they utilise their limited locations, including the eponymous elevator, in ways that elevated (pun intended) the simple premise. The cast of relatively unknown young actors handled the material fairly well and I felt genuine sympathy for most of them, which is not something I usually feel when it comes to characters taking the kind of chances these guys do. That said, the acting was hit and miss and the movie itself would’ve benefited from a shorter runtime. It’s not overly long but it’s the type of story that works better as a short film than a feature length one.
I don’t want to be too harsh here because, as I mentioned earlier, you could tell this one was made on a much smaller budget than most other Shudder releases. And even with the tone stumbling a bit from an excess of unnecessary humour I thought the original touches like the backstory for the origin of the 5th Floor Lady as well as the impressive use of shadow and camera angles made up for a lot of the weaker aspects of the movie.
It won’t win any prizes, but Elevator Game is a decent attempt at taking the Korean urban legend and introducing it to wider audiences. I can imagine with a bigger budget, and maybe being released a decade or so earlier when movies like The Ring and Grudge were all the rage, it might’ve even been considered one of the better supernatural entries out there. Either way, it’s not a bad horror movie to show someone who scares easily.
Sommer’s Score: 5 out of 10
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Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge-Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes. Double Tap Baby! Read More