Praise-worthy for its efforts to breathe new life into the haunted house horror scenario. Girl on the Third Floor is a movie that has a lot of promise but unfortunately comes up short in some important areas.
The film stars Phil Brooks aka CM Punk of pro-wrestling/MMA fame as ex-lawyer Don Koch. He, along with his heavily pregnant wife have bought a run-down house in the suburbs of Chicago.
Don has gone to the house ahead of his wife to fix it up but finds the house has more issues then he anticipated. Then to make matters worse he learns from his neighbours that the house has quite a history. Then he starts to experience supernatural events.
Don should just leave but having let his wife down many times in the past, he is determined to make this work even if it costs him his mental health. The house is rotten to the core and only the most determined will survive it.
Girl on the Third Floor is great at building but not so great at paying off. We have a cast of realistic and believable characters with human flaws that we get to know bit by bit. As their secrets come to the surface, the events in the house ramp up. The two seem to be related and while the majority of the film is focused on Brooks’ Don, he is not alone in this experience.
Playing off Don is the character of Sarah (Sarah Brooks), a supposedly malevolent person who never quite reaches the heights she could if given the chance. Both her and Don are played well by the respective actors but always feel like they’re not going all in.
Part of that comes from the story which again, holds back unnecessarily. For all its seemingly sexual content and violent mystery it surprisingly doesn’t go all in with the sordid details. This is a movie that could have done with a bit more imagination and willingness to show, rather then tell. A lot is implied and easy to interpret but it is far from satisfying.
Visually is where the movie impresses the most. Great lighting, clever angles and strong practical effects make this a winner. There’s no faulting Girl on the Third Floor here.
It has scares, moments of tension built towards inevitable jump scares, but few are really effective. The characters don’t quite react as you might expect and often, particularly in the latter parts, take the supernatural events in their stride. Their disconnect is our disconnect and harms the immersion.
As the credits roll, you can’t help but think ‘what could have been’ with Girl on the Third Floor. By holding back and shying away from the real sleazy details, the story is impacted which in turn affects the characters and the overall quality.
Girl On The Third Floor
The Final Score - 5/10