Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Halloween Scene: Dark Floors (2008)

3:16:56 am

Okay, so I watched Dark Floors and then did a little online research which explains some stuff, so I'm going to review it as I would have without doing research and then give you the added info I got.

Okay, so the basic premise is a kind of Langoliers meets The Mist in a hospital. You've got the dad, his autistic daughter, the nurse, the security guard, the guard and the crazy old guy all in an elevator that has some problems. Once they get out of the elevator, it appears as though the hospital they were all in is empty. Crazier and crazier things keep happening as monsters and ghosts keep harassing them as they descend from floor to floor. Oh, also, the little girl and the old man seem to have some kind of connection to what's going on.

I don't want to give too too much of the plot away, but there were a lot of cool elements that I do want to talk about. Soon after getting off the elevator our group passes a copy machine that keeps spitting out copies even though there's nothing on the machine. The nurse stacks the papers together and flips through them like a flip book revealing an eerie black and white cartoon of a ghostly face moving around the pages. It's a really cool scene and something I haven't seen before.

I also liked the set decoration. As our "heroes" descend lower and lower towards the morgue level (from which they can get to the parking garage, great planning folks) the hospital walls get more dirty, disgusting and gory. The horrors in the hallways themselves get worse and worse too, lending a sense of impending doom that reminded me of hell, but without forcing the imagery of Dante's Inferno down your throats.

The above mentioned monsters are pretty creepy, looking like anything from a Predator to Evil Ernie to an Egyptian mummy and even a Dracula looking dude. They're pretty creepy looking, but I wasn't really sure about how they were related. And the connection is never really explained.

Okay, now to get into some SPOILER territory. From what I can tell, time stopped in the hospital and the outside world (there's a really cool reveal of this). But there's also some kind time loop going on within the hospital where things that happened earlier in the movie are explained a little bit later. It's not a completely unique twist, but I didn't see it coming until right before the characters themselves realized it. The monsters are after the girl, she's some kind of key. But then at the very end it turns out that the entire story you just saw was part of the girl's mind and tracks back to the beginning of the movie. So we get a kind of restart with slightly different circumstances. I'm left scratching my head. Are things different now (she wanted the blue crayon instead of the red crayon) or is this supposed to be what it's like living inside of this poor little girl who keeps drawing really creepy pictures with crayons? I don't really know the answer, but I still found the movie enjoyable even though I generally hate the ones where the end negates the last hour of viewing time. Or did it? As long as I'm asking that question, it doesn't make me all the way mad.

Okay, so here's what I learned after jumping on this here internet thing and looking around. Those monsters that didn't seem to make much sense? Well, they're apparently the members of a Finnish band kind of like Gwar, called Lordi. Apparently the lead singer of the band, Mr. Lordi, both suggested the story and also played the main, end bad guy (who looks like Dracula). That doesn't really make the movie make any more sense, but it does at least explain why these weird ghosts and monsters are hanging out together terrorizing little girls and assorted other people who haven't really done anything. There's even two music videos on the DVD that both look like pretty great short horror films.

Even before I read all that extra info, I would suggest renting Dark Floors. It's got a great sense of atmosphere, creepy monsters, great special effects (both CGI and practical) and nice performances from all the actors, especially the creepy little girl who stays consistently creepy the whole time. Good stuff.

So far that's two out of two quality flicks from the Ghost House Underground releases which has me pretty excited for the rest.

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