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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Dark Floors
Dark Floors
Lionsgate Home Entertainment // R // October 14, 2008
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted November 2, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Before sitting down with Dark Floors, know this - the film is also known as The Lordi Motion Picture. What? Lordi. That's right. Lordi. For those not hip to the monster metal scene, Lordi are a Finnish metal act that look like Gwar (or Kiss if you prefer) but sound like a cross between Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie. Apparently they won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006 and have a sizeable following in Europe and have had exposure in North America thanks to a slot on Ozzfest in 2007 and by opening for Type O Negative on one of their recent tours. So yeah, this is a Finnish monster rock movie. Take that for whatever it's worth.

The film follows a young autistic girl named Sarah (Skye Bennett) who lives in a hospital. Sarah's really into monsters, she draws them all the time and she talks about them a lot. After she almost dies in an accident there, her father, Ben (Noah Huntley), doesn't like her there and wants her to receive better treatment and so he decides that he's going to have to take her out of the institution and find somewhere else for her. When he collects his daughter and they take the elevator down to the ground floor, the elevator gets stuck and the pair are trapped along with a few other people.

Eventually, the doors of the elevator open but when they do, the hospital is empty and it looks to have been this way for some time. As Sarah, her father, and the others explore the building, they come across a couple of corpses and soon realize that something is very, very wrong with this scenario. When monsters from some other dimension appear, it'll be up to Sarah to save the group from certain doom.

Wow - is this film ever goofy. Reliant on too much CGI and some hokey make up effects, the plot is almost as mundane as the performances by the uninspired cast. The cinematography is sufficient but unremarkable and the film relies very heavily on shadow and atmosphere but sadly can't be bothered to do anything suspenseful with these elements. The cameras spend a lot of time prowling the supposedly eerie setting of the abandoned hospital and then slapping us with a predictable jump scare. There's no tension, there's no lasting horror of any kind, no, there isn't even any impressive imagery here to take home. There are plot holes galore, logic is thrown out the window, and the storyline is the monsters (played by the members of Lordi themselves) that are supposed to provide the scares are woefully underused.

The film, to its credit, is well paced and benefits from some good production values. The hospital could have been a genuinely scary setting if anything interesting had happened in it and the grim visual style employed in the film does lend itself to horror quite nicely. A shame then that the story plods around from one 'boo' set piece to the next without doing anything original or inspired to keep things interesting. The filmmakers try at one point to throw in a weird homeless man to add an element of supernatural mystery to the storyline but it's too little too late. Even the welcome presence of a magical hobo can't save this one.

The DVDs

Video:

Dark Floors looks fine on this DVD thanks to a well authored 2.35.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Color reproduction is decent enough and the black levels stay strong throughout the movie, which is a good thing because a lot of this movie takes place in the dark. A couple of shots look a bit soft and there's a bit of aliasing here and there but these are minor problems that most people aren't likely to notice unless they're looking for them in the first place. Skin tones look nice and lifelike and there aren't any problems with mpeg compression artifacts to complain about. Detail levels look about average and for the most part the picture quality is fine

Sound:

The English language 5.1 Surround Sound mix is of decent enough quality and it comes with optional subtitles in English and Spanish. Surrounds aren't used as often as they could have been but the rears do kick in from time to time and add some excitement to the soundscape. Bass response is strong while dialogue remains crisp and clear. Once or twice the levels get a bit high but aside from those instances the mix is properly balanced and there aren't any problems with hiss or distortion to complain about. Even if this isn't reference quality, it's pretty good.

Extras:

First up is a commentary track with director Peter Riski and Mr. Lordi. The two talk about what it was like making the film and about differences between what we see on the screen and what was written in the script. They talk about some of the effects and some of the performances and also spend a fair bit of time just generally chatting about what they like about the movie. They compare the movie to the music videos that Lordi has done over the years and how the movie was shot in the same style, and they talk about what they wanted to do with this film. It's a well paced commentary with a lot of information in it but again, if you didn't dig the movie, you probably won't get much out of this.

From there, check out Behind The Scenes Of Dark Floors (11:16) which features some interviews with the cast, footage of a few actors getting make up applied to their faces, some effects footage and some general 'here's what it was like on set' footage. Dark Floors World Premiere (23:17) features some footage from the film's theatrical debut as well as some interview footage with the cast and some live performance footage from Mr. Lordi. None of this material will convince you that the movie is any good, but it's there if you want it.

Rounding out the extra features are a trailer for the feature, two Lordi music videos (Would You Love A Monster Man? and Hard Rock Hallelujah) some trailers for other Lionsgate DVD releases, animated menus and a chapter selection option for the feature.

Final Thoughts:

Dark Floors has a moderately interesting premise and some nice visuals going for it but can't be bothered to effectively exploit either of those qualities or do anything interesting save for throw a few well timed jump scares at an audience already expecting just that. The DVD looks and sounds fine and there are a few extras that will probably please Lordi fans but everyone else can safely skip this one.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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