A group of people trapped in an elevator? The trouble for this particular film is that you instantly think of Devil, M Night Shyamalan’s take on the theme, a superior chiller which matches shocks and intelligence in equal measure.
This particular dose of claustrophobia, even with the added horror of a suicide bomber stuck among the unwilling gathering, is decidedly pale in comparison.
A ghastly, ruthless banker and his granddaughter are among the people in a lift which gets stuck when the granddaughter fiddles with the controls. They were on their way to the top floor for a party at which the banker was going to announce his retirement, upon which he was going waltz off with a whacking great pay-off.
Among the others in the lift is a woman whose husband was forced into suicide by the banker’s unheeding greed, plus a worker and his fiancée and a pregnant co-worker with a secret or two to tell.
There’s also a joker in the pack, a claustrophobic comedian who fails to see the funny side. Throw them all together, and the tensions – given the situation – rapidly reach breaking point, particularly when one of their number dies of a heart attack, the point at which the others discover that this particular person is carrying a bomb.
The rattiness and the fear are nicely done, but though you might hope there’s something more sinister underlying it all, as in M Night Shyamalan’s film, sadly there isn’t – which is why the ending all seems rather flat and uninteresting.
What we were watching was the sum total of what we were getting, and without that extra dimension, it all starts to seem increasingly pedestrian. A twist or turn or two would have worked wonders here.
Rental courtesy of Blockbuster. For details of other new releases, see www.blockbuster.co.uk.