2 Sep

Arockalypse Now. Dark Floors.

Posted by Bryan White | Tuesday September 2, 2008 | Reviews

Gwar is dead! Long live Lordi! Though, you really have to wonder if there’s enough room in the world for more than one metal band wearing monster makeup and elaborate costumes. But I’ve seen Gwar a couple of times and I think the time has come for them to move aside. The first time I saw Gwar, the Ragnarok tour, it was fucking awesome. I came away looking like I’d been witness to a bloodbath, and in a sense, I had.  The second time I saw them, they recycled the plot of the Live From Antarctica tour and it wasn’t so good.  Too many people in the club, a mad rush to the stage to get hosed down with fake piss. People got hurt. Since then, I haven’t been too sweet on the band. I’m just a little tired of their routine.  Lordi, on the other hand, they’re a different story.

I don’t know if the band has broken out here in states yet. I know that their album, The Arockalypse, got a North American release but I have no idea how well they were received. I guess in their home of Finland, they’re a bit of a sensation and won the Eurovision song contest in 2006, which is a sort of World Series of Pop Music held annually. The band isn’t quite as Tromaville as Gwar and their act isn’t really about offending people’s sensibilities. They’re the perfect horror movie rock band and even bring to mind the horror aesthetic of the late 80’s when the revived career of Alice Cooper, Megadeth and Dokken found their way onto soundtracks for Friday the 13th Part 6, Shocker and A Nightmare on Elm Street 3, respectively. Check out the video for Blood Red Sandman after the break. In the meantime, the band made a movie. I was pretty excited. Too bad it doesn’t make much sense.

Ben and his autistic daughter, Sarah, are at the hospital undergoing a series of tests.  A mechanical problem nearly destroys the MRI machine that Sarah occupies and that, along with a handful of other concerns is enough for Ben to take Sarah away from the hospital, vowing to the doctors that he’ll find the help she needs elsewhere.  However, on his way out, on the elevator, he, Sarah and a cast of survival horror stereotypes, find themselves trapped in a hospital where time seems to be standing still and an elaborately dressed heavy metal band stalks the halls. A lot of running and screaming ensues and at times, it is suggested that Sarah has something to do with all of this.

It’s really too bad about Dark Floors. Every now and then, the movie flirts with brilliance.  Portions of the premise are so cool, for instance, the time standing still angle, but this shit makes absolutely no sense, whatsoever.  There are long stretches of running time dedicated to the cast running around, confused and frightened while nothing terribly important happens.  Occasionally, a member of Lordi shows up and everyone runs from them while the token armed security guard cracks off shot after shot to no avail. This happens for nearly every member of the band.  Occasionally, the crazy, babbling homeless guy in the group shows some kind of hidden knowledge of these monsters but never is any explanation given.  As a matter of fact, he miraculously returns from the grave to save the day toward the end of the second act before falling dead again only to have the nurse declare that he appears to have been dead for a week… but… that’s impossible!

From what I can tell, director Pete Riski made the move for this feature from music videos and advertisements and the movie is packed with every typical offense from a director making that conversion.  It’s full of flash and bang, has fantastic production design, a lot of quick cuts, etcetera. I can’t fault the guy for it, either.  When all of your experience has been in a medium that stresses the need to cram as much as you possibly can into four minutes of video or less, you have a tendency to hold on to those values even after you find yourself with 90 minutes or more to deal with.  Few of these guys ever shake those chains off and it usually takes a couple of features to get into the groove but it can happen.  Look at David Fincher! But directorial shortcomings aside, this movie ultimately fails in its plotting. Sure, you don’t necessarily need to explain every detail but when you’re making a high concept piece of bullshit like Dark Floors, you had better take a few minutes to explain yourself because this movie takes a crazy-ass turn in the third act when Sarah’s true nature is exposed only to have a final twist happen that brings to mind the final minutes of the St. Elsewhere series finale.  It’s a pretty shitty way to end a movie.

On the upside, the movie has a great look and features some great special effects.  It’s a little spare in the gore department but that which it does feature is decent.  The monster make up, designed in part by Mr. Lordi, singer of the band, is top shelf and the band, whose costumes look a little rubbery, ordinarily, get a nice and slimy update. This isn’t worth a whole lot, though.  Easily the best part of the movie is the new Lordi song over the end credits and that’s not saying much.

I’m not even sure Lordi fans are going to buy Dark Floors.  There’s not much going on, the plot is a mess and there’s nothing to indicate that it ever made any sense.  The monster concepts are interesting and a couple of scenes involving the security cameras and the intercoms helped things out enormously but the story abandons the good stuff early on in order to put the extremely familiar cast in peril.

Dark Floors is a planned release in the upcoming Ghost House Underground line for October 14th but for those international readers or readers with all-region DVD players, you can order it now from many European sources.  This one, in particular, is from Nordisk Film.

18 Comments 

  1. September 24, 2008 11:39 pm

    zombiwolf

    ‘Black Roses’ anyone?

  2. January 26, 2009 1:22 am

    alias

    the plot is deep and obscure. most major plot points have to be infered. what I did get off of it is that the reason they run into each others other selves is because its looping over and over . why its looping has something to do with an emptiness or guilt of saras father, leading me to think this is his purgatory. I infered that sarah is dead through the whole thing, and her spirit is not allowed to ascend because she is part of her fathers purgatory. it is pergatory with pathways to heaven and to hell, and she tries to lead him away from hell but he chooses to dive down deeper any way. tobias died on the elevator and has repeated the episode for as many times as sara. the only real proof of substence is towards tobias , sarah and her dad. no one else showes proof of realy existing because they dont remember any thing and their actions are all centric towards saras father or to sarah or tobias. the whole time I think saras dad just needs to come to terms that sara died and it wasnt his fault, maybe to do with his authorizing experementle drugs, which he has to denie to himself that he did. this story dose make some semblence of sence, but the director realy aught to just come right out and do a comentary point by point of the plot. because some one died there and there was no fore nor hind shadowing of it. and the machine catching fire was caused not by power falure , but a flux caused by the girls spirit looping. it would be nice if some of the extras like weel chair lady was explained better, because their significance is obviose just not transparent. plus the meaning of each monster / lordi charictor. also why the red crayon, and whys it change colors? I think maybe the time spirel was premenishioned to be stoped because tobias found victory in finaly killing the sand man and he wasnt cold any more, and she starts with the blue crayon instead of red. the only way to know for sure if she ended the loop is if they dont hear any of the reapeting stuff or run into themselves. again REALY WANT THE WRITER AND DIRECTOR TO EXPLAIN WHAT THEY MEANT TO BE PORTRAYED DOWN TO THE MOST OBSCURE METAPHORE but what can you do besides keep asking?

  3. January 26, 2009 9:24 am

    Bryan White

    Here’s the thing. I’m fine with a plot that you have to dig for. I love dissecting movies with a hidden or obscure plot. It’s fun. But Dark Floors is asking an awful lot of viewers to have to explore its nonsense because right from the start it’s plagued with very familiar plot devices. The one by one nature of the monster introductions reveals the movie’s true nature: a character play to promote the band and make it a part of their own mythology.

    It’s fine that you drew the lines that you did. That leap of faith helped you enjoy the movie more than I did but my problem with Dark Floors is that it’s a monster movie starring a rock band whose central conceit is “we’re really monsters”. It’s such a stretch to ask the filmgoers to go out on a limb and make up the parts that the script doesn’t just come out and say. I’d expect that sort of hidden agenda from David Lynch or Guy Maddin but Pete Riski? No way.

  4. May 25, 2009 9:11 pm

    Magician

    I didn’t get the end at all, apart from the fact she now wanted the blue crayon.
    I enjoyed the feel of the movie but I like a clear concise ending. Call me simple but with something quite abstract like dark floors I think you need a reason?

    Maybe it’s just me?

  5. June 7, 2009 3:29 am

    Ruth

    this movie sucked. a good movie either cleans up the confusion of leaves you with a FEW possible explanations. NOT a freaking PLETHURA!! nobody has any clue! just guesses! and there’s 91642123431231 different guesses! a GOOD ending would leave two or three possible endings and people debating which one it is. this movie made ME feel autistic.

  6. January 2, 2010 3:38 pm

    tony

    Rarely can I say that I love it when American Bands Sell Out. At least WE are coherent. This movie defines “cluster fuck!”.

  7. April 26, 2010 12:36 am

    farah

    I’ve watched it over and over but I still dont get it.

    What on earth the story about???? anyone knows?

  8. April 26, 2010 8:08 am

    Bryan White

    Save yourself the trouble. Stop watching it over and over. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s just a bad movie.

  9. July 17, 2010 2:24 am

    Chris

    I see this movie as a piece of abstract art. There is no REAL interpretation, it’s just what you see in it. It doesn’t make it a bad movie, it just means if you want to see a plot, you have to think a bit.

  10. December 31, 2010 10:15 pm

    Kane

    This film is arse-food for a pen of retarded children. I could package this horror as reconstituted corned beef and sell it to dismembered war veterans claiming it contains 2% salt, 3% water and 95% racism-with-a-hick inbred handlebar steering kinkajou wearing a trilby.

  11. January 30, 2011 8:23 am

    Cindy

    FREAKEN i just watch this film and i have no idea whats going on.. I dont know which question to ask first
    its all confusing.. makes me feel retarded :(((
    lol

    P.S why do the monster wearing a gangster chain necklase
    never knew theyre into fashion ;D

  12. June 3, 2011 5:50 pm

    Mimi

    We rented this not knowing it was made by Lordi. One of the first things I noticed was that the demons were wearing clothes, heavy metal garb to be exact!
    I said to my partner, “Where’d that demon get.that elaborately spiked leather jacket?” and we had a good laugh. Well, at least I know what that was all about now!
    Unlike the rest of the movie…
    I figured that the whole thing was supposed to be a moment in Sarah’s psychotic mind, a glimpse into a minute of madness.
    And I suppose that’s okay, but it was a bit of a letdown, you know, the whole ” it was all a dream” cop out ending.
    In fact, I said that phrase aloud in an exaggerated way to my prtner as the credits rolled…only to find he had fallen sleep!

  13. June 4, 2011 6:14 am

    Season

    I just watched it, and really it’s a good movie if you’re seeing it from the perspective of an artist. The special effects were phenomenal seeing as it was pretty low-budget and made to sell-out a heavy metal band. BUT, from the perspective of the average, horror loving, movie-goer it’s the VERY definition of ripping my hair out and screaming “wtf?!”

    I’m going to have to agree with the comment that this movie’s very obscure plot is probably Sarah’s father’s purgatory through the guilt and his denial of her death. Hence at the end when she says “It’s not your fault.” plus throughout the movie the nurse keeps saying “We need to get Sarah her medicine, she really needs her medicine.” and her father keeps pushing forward (or downward really).

    ALSO, in the elevator initially; when Tobias gets back up after having (what I assume to be) a heart attack he says “Why won’t you just let me die?” which leads me, personally, to believe that this has been looping for some time. Probably a week, seeing as after Tobias gets the shit beaten out of him by the jerk-wad (whose name I care not to remember) the nurse says “It looks like he’s been dead for a week.” Hmm .. weird.

    Well anyway, it’s not really a “it was just a dream” ending so much as; okay, the father didn’t learn his lesson AGAIN so we have to do this over AGAIN until Sarah’s soul (presumably) ascend and let her be at peace. And something about Tobias not being cold anymore. So, it really is a good movie, but it sucks ass at the same time because you have to think so hard about it and it really .. is not worth it.

    Sorry if I gave a lot of stuff away for people who haven’t watched it, but trust me I just saved you an hour or so of “wtf”ing.

  14. September 4, 2011 3:10 am

    TheOnlySaneOne

    From what I gather, it has to do with the father’s guilt and the fear and confusion one has to deal with in being a parent of an autistic child. Sarah lives in her own world and that world is probably scary as shit and throughout the whole movie her father, Ben, is trying desperately to help but is confused as how to do so. So perhaps it isn’t an ‘actual’ time loop of the same shit happening. Maybe, for Sarah, and even for her dad, every time they go to a hospital or have to get Sarah tested for this, that and the other, it’s like a nightmare for them. A scary, confusing, dark cycle. *Just my thoughts* And by the way, I really did dig the movie. I don’t think it was as bad as most of you are saying it is. I think if you focus on Sarah’s situation *the characters even say, constantly, that it all has to do with Sarah* it’s more than hinted that this is the scary ‘world’ that SHE lives in and it’s something she lives through over and over again, from her perspective….Maybe those creatures are a part of her, or even different aspects of herself, trying to deal with her fucked up situation. She is both the dark and light side in the movie and they are constantly battling each other. Not to get too deep, LoL, but that’s how I see the movie….

  15. June 1, 2012 1:43 pm

    Diana

    Red crayon keeps the bad stuff away. It is tobias that takes it from her and that’s when stuff gets weird. She is key to the plot. She couldn’t keep the evil at bay once she lost the red crayon. Her vision drawings-are they premonition or her creations somehow brought to life? In the end…asking for the blue crayon-is it her acceptance of this dark side? Food for thought. This movie is quite deep with layers of symbolism open for interpretation.

  16. November 28, 2012 2:19 pm

    Dark Floors « HORRORPEDIA

    […] “It’s really too bad about Dark Floors. Every now and then, the movie flirts with brilliance.  Portions of the premise are so cool, for instance, the time standing still angle, but this shit makes absolutely no sense, whatsoever.  There are long stretches of running time dedicated to the cast running around, confused and frightened while nothing terribly important happens.  Occasionally, a member of Lordi shows up and everyone runs from them while the token armed security guard cracks off shot after shot to no avail. This happens for nearly every member of the band.” Bryan White, Cinema Suicide  […]

  17. December 8, 2012 5:12 am

    movies

    What’s up to all, the contents present at this site are genuinely remarkable for people experience, well, keep up the nice work fellows.

  18. February 2, 2013 6:20 am

    jithin

    Movie’s background music feels really good.


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