It is somehow appropriate that Dark Floors, a movie that claims to have the honour of being the first Finnish horror movie as well as having the biggest budget and set of any other Finnish movie, should be co-created by and co-star the other great Finnish export: Eurovision song contest winners Lordi. In fact the DVD cover carries the subtitle “The Lordi Motion Picture”. With that in mind it is easy to approach this movie with expectations tainted by the disasters that resulted from previous musician-turn-actor attempts such as Spice World (admittedly no one ever expected that to be any less awful than the band themselves) and Cradle of Fear. Which is a good thing really, since the film fails to live up to its potential. What we end up with is something that is very much a lesser version of Silent Hill with more similarities that you can comfortably ignore. Having said that, it works as a horror film despite its failings, and as director/writer Pete Riski’s first foray into a feature-length movie it shows great potential.
Autistic young girl Sarah is being scanned in an MRI machine when something goes wrong; there is a power cut and the machine shorts out and catches fire. After dragging her out of the machine her father Ben packs up her things and heads for the exit, arguing with doctor Emily that he feels the hospital is not doing any good for his daughter. As the three get in a lift, alongside hospital visitor Jon, and security guard Rick who is escorting the mysterious possibly homeless Tobias out of the hospital, but are suddenly brought out of their argument when another power cut halts the lift. When the power comes back on they exit on the sixth floor to find it completely empty. The film follows the group of people as they try to reach the ground floor, with each lower floor becoming more and more hellish. To top this off there are a selection of monsters, played by the aforementioned Lordi, attacking them.
The actors give passable performances, with Skye Bennett (who played Sarah) and Ronald Pickup (who played Tobias) being the standout quality actors of the piece. Visually the style of Dark Floors is gorgeous, with the gradual descent of the hospital from sterile brightly lit whites to dark and dirty grime being pulled of beautifully. The CGI and makeup effects are top quality too, with the ghost woman being the stand-out pinnacle of CGI in the movie,
The movies’ major failing is the lack of coherence in the script; we never find out why the group suddenly ended in this hellish dimension, nor why the monsters were attacking them, or why one of the monsters seems to be driven away by x-ray radiation. If you are hoping for some kind of explanation at the end of the movie, give up now as all you’ll get at the end of the movie is considerably more confused! No, really, the ending doesn’t make any sense at all as far as I can tell!
For extras we have a 30m Behind the Scenes which starts with actress Skye Bennett showing some sketches she has done; “This is Jon who has his heart ripped out in the movie, yay!”. Most of the rest of the remaining 20m is given over to before and after screen-wipes of CGI work. Next there is the 23m “Dark Floors World Premiere” which is a Q&A with the actors (only some of which had actually seen the movie by this point!), ending with low-quality footage from a Lordi concert. Next comes 28m of interviews with the cast and crew, which starts out being mildly interesting but stops being so when you start hearing the same answers given to the questions. Finally there is a trailer for the movie included on the DVD.
Having been pretty harsh on the movie above, if you’re looking for something stylish and aren’t going to look too carefully at it, then Dark Floors is a good horror film with one of the best ghosts I’ve seen and some great stylish visuals. I’d say it’s definitely worth a rental, but if you’re looking for something to buy then personally I’d recommend the very similar (stylistically, story, and genre-wise) but superior Silent Hill.