The full title of this film is apparently "Dark Floors: The Lordi Motion Picture," which is important because Lordi
is a heavy metal group from Finland that dresses up in elaborate monster-like costumes. I was not really aware of this and since I had never heard of the group before was not able to recognize them when Mr. Lordi, OX, Amen, Awa, and Kita starting popping up as the monsters in this 2008 movie (and, of course, they have recorded a new song, "Beast Loose in Paradise," for the end credits). This matters because since I did not know these guys from Adam, there were just monsters. Imagine, if you will, that this was "Dark Floors: The Kiss Motion Picture," and every time Space Ace, Starchild, Catman or the Demon popped up you would laugh you ass off (I say this remembering full well that the band popped up as superheroes in several Marvel comics, including both "Howard The Duck
" and a magazine printed with REAL KISS BLOOD). Actually, Lordi looks more like GWAR
, the thrash metal band than Kiss, but either way you understand the principle. For fans of Lordi, this movie has an inherent comic element that we ignorant types are not burdened. Also, know going in that while half of the Ghost House Underground
films released on DVD this October are dubbed, "Dark Floors" is not.
Young Sarah (Skye Bennet) is autistic and with health problems, but the hospital cannot come up with any answers, so her father, Ben (Noah Huntley), wants to take her out of there. But the elevator breaks down and they, along with the others in the elevator, find that when the doors open the hospital is deserted. and we quickly get the feeling that we are not in Helsinki any more. Lordi, no. As they move from floor to floor, things get progressively more decrepit and more dangerous. Of course the ability of any of this group to get out of the hospital alive relies on Sarah, because she is autistic, and what we do not know about autism can work as the deus ex machina in any horror movie. Besides, when people check out the phones in this hospital there are whispered requests demands for the girl, so even the people in the movie know that Sarah is the key. The other characters along for the ride are Emily (Dominique McElligott), who is clearly a bit smarter and braver than the guys she is stuck with, which are Jon (William Hope), Walter (Philip Bretherton), Rick (Leon Herbert), and Tobias (Ronald Pickup), the crazy old coot who is the only one with a clue and who handles the requisite exposition duties.
The working title in Finnish for this film was "Punainen liitu," which translates as "Red Chalk," and actually is more appropriate for the plot here since the floors in this film are not particularly dark (and when they get dirty so do the walls and ceilings). I think that the vibe this movie was going for was like "Silent Hill
," with the whole "what the hell is happening here?" vibe, more than any other recent horror movie that comes to mind. My complaint with Lordi is not that these are heavy metal guys running around in monster costumes, because since I had never seen them before that was easy to forget. Instead my problem is that the movie ends up being like a fun house at Halloween, where you go through the thing and periodically monsters jump out, you jump, they disappear, and you keep going. Being the monsters in a horror movie would appear to be self-indulgent at face value, but the five band members pretty much have the smallest roles. Director Pete Riski does not come up with anything special for this horror film, but then there is nothing special being set up by Pekka Lehtosaari's script.
The bottom line is that if I knew who Lordi was then I probably would have laughed every time one of them showed up, but I did not, so I was able to actually take this movie at face value. There is very little blood and gore, and the oppressive atmosphere quickly dissipates because there is no real sense of moving towards a climax because why this movie telegraphs from the opening moment that the little girl is going to save the day, there is no real sense of what she is saving them from. I suppose a case could be made for the horrors of existentialist angst, but there is just grabbing for straws to try and make sense of this film. Besides, because of the limitations of the young actress playing Sarah, the character works best when she is not saying anything, so she is unable to carry the off the big finish when she has to start talking. The end game reminded me of what I thought was the best film of 2006, which is why I round up on "Dark Floors," but I do not want to ruin the best part of the film if you decide to check it out. This is not the best ("Dance of the Dead
") or even one of the better ("The Substitute
") DVDs in this GHU collection, but it is definitely in the middle and not one of the really bad ones.