Director: Stig Svendsen
Stars: Chistopher Backus, Anita Briem, John Getz,Joey Slotnick, Devin Ratray
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Horror
After watching the 2011 thriller film Elevator the other night, it was clear from the start that the bar had raised for ripping-off other movies. I don’t know what is more blatant, Elevators rip-off of M. Knight Shyamalan’s 2010 film Devil or White House Down’s homage to Olympus Has Fallen. Elevator clearly wants to look like Devil as much as possible, going so far as to have a poster that’s almost a shot for shot remake of Devil’s. Just look at the two film posters for both movies below.
In the immortal words of The Killers very own Brandon Flowers “The Devil can go back from where he came” because Devil was hardly a good film, and Elevator brought back some claustrophobic memories of that sub-par take on evil and redemption. However, on a personal note, I rather enjoyed Elevator more so than Devil due to the hilarity of the characters situation and the interactions with each other.
For Elevator, a cast of characters were chosen very specifically for their ability to cause drama with each other – a racist white comedian, an American security guard of Middle Eastern descent, a handsome business man and his beautiful fiancé, a beautiful pregnant woman secretly carrying handsome business man’s baby. And that obnoxious little kid who can’t keep her hands to herself. Essentially, racism collides with corporate greed when these nine strangers are trapped in a Wall Street elevator, and one of them has a bomb. They will literally do anything to survive.
The film picks up after 30 minutes or so. Tensions reach their breaking points, blood starts a flowing, ideas start formulating, and things get Über serious. They also get a little less than realistic. The final game plan is over the top and also completely impossible. It had a few rudiments of Saw to it, and also some of the most humorous dialogue of the entire movie. But it was still absurdly impractical. However, the movie was refreshing in a couple of ways.
Social observations are common in film for sure, so this on its face is not a issue, but what director Stig Svendsen decided to do is take most social problems and stereotypes, along with his own spin on them all, and insert each of them into this film. There were so many of them transpiring that it crossed the threshold from typical Hollywood commentary into a full-on issue-fest.
Some of the things that Svendsen educated us in Elevator are:
Victims of the predatory asset firms are unimpeachable for their actions, no matter how ruthless, as their suffering has been extreme and through no fault of their own.
Hedge Fund Managers and Investment Firm knobs are greedy and lying shit heads who ruin people’s lives without a second thought.
Those we judge as potential “terrorists” because they are from the Middle East are actually the weakest of all.
Single mothers are the most brave and virtuous among us.
Every person who seems to have it all in terms of good looks, materials and wealth is actually morally broke.
The children of affluent families are pure evil with no redeeming value.
Button mashing in life, like in video games, does nothing to solve the problem.
If you’re overweight, you’re going to die.
Two of best things about this movie go as follows:
Devin Ratray (AKA Buzz MaCallister from Home Alone!) is in this film.
The legendary 80’s comedian Andrew Dice Clay (AKA “The Dice Man”) is referenced in this movie as well.
For starters, for everyone out there who has ever asked the question “so what the F*ck is Buzz from Home Alone doing these days?” Well here he is in all his glory, all 300 lbs of him(he seems to have gained an incredible amount of weight since the 90’s). None the less, I will re frame from making comments about how our beloved Buzz has been relegated to starring in straight to DVD rip-off films since Macaulay Culkin is nowhere to be seen. At least Ratray still has somewhat of a career left. Good for him.
Finally, the best part of the film for me was the character reference that Joey Slotnick (Geroge Axlerod) played in the film. His character persona was in reference to one of the most flat-out vulgar and unapologetic comedians to ever walk on this earth, Mr. Andrew “Dice” Clay. Slotnicks character as the last-minute replacement comedian for the films dinner party embodied some of Dice Clay’s comedic styles. At one point in the film, Slotnicks character even made a remark of how him (George Axlerod) once opened for Dice Clay.
If you are not familiar with the comedy styling’s of The Dice Man, click here to view him in all his glory (start at the 20min mark for the meat and potatoes).
*Warning: Dice Clay was a comedian and persona from the 80’s; a time when life was fun, hilarious, simple and when people were not so F*ing sensitive about every little thing. So with that said, his comedy is not for the faint of heart or the thin skinned. “Dice” was actually a created character and persona by Clay to slam all the sexist, racist and homophobic guidos that came to his earlier shows. He is an actor and social commentator.