Horror Movie Review: The Lift (1983)

The Lift (also known as De Lift being a Dutch horror film) was directed and written by Dick Maas. It sees a lift seemingly gain intelligence and start killing anyone that goes near it or uses it.

Yes, this is a horror movie about a killer lift. It is not a horror comedy nor does it have slapstick or take a tongue in cheek approach. The Lift is a film that takes itself deadly seriously, the only laughs coming from some of the poor voice dubbing.

Lift 2

It’s this that grabs the attention in the opening scene as four partying people get trapped inside the sentient lift. At first, they don’t worry too much about it, choosing to continue the party in the lift but as it begins to heat up they begin to panic. In the end they all survive…just.

Lift 3

This sees Felix Adelaar (Huub Stapel), a technician from the elevator company Deta Liften called in. He looks over the electrical system in an attempt to find any issues but finds none. It’s put down to nothing more than a freak accident related to a recent storm. That is until other people start to have accidents and die.

An elderly blind man falls to his death when the elevator doors open to an empty shaft, the night watchman is decapitated by the elevator doors and a janitor is snared in the shaft. The body count begins to rise and on-one can understand what is going on.

Lift 4

Felix becomes obsessed with the lift, something that affects his family. He knows something isn’t right with it and is determined to find out what it is.

The biggest flaw in The Lift is obvious from the moment it starts. It’s a lift…it can’t move, chase or attack. It relies on people going near it, a problem that could be solved instantly. Simply put it’s not threatening in any way even if Maas attempts to be creative with it.

Lift 5

A low body count doesn’t do much for the film although it does have the occasional tense scene such as the one where a little girl is quietly menaced by the lift. These are few and far between though, instead the lengthy run time is spent on characters and story. This is no bad thing but perhaps a little too much time is spent talking for a movie about a killer lift.

There isn’t much in the way of gore, but what is there is pretty memorable–particularly the decapitation in the shaft and the final hanging scene. Each bloody scene has an 80s feel about it especially when you add the occasional flashes of nudity. Nothing hardcore, but never out of place.

Lift 6

Eventually the film delves into a ‘mad-science’ kind of horror with an explanation about chips & computer programs. It’s fairly mundane but does result in a decent finale.

Ultimately for a horror about a murderous sentient lift you just want a bit more ‘oomph’ to things.

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The Lift
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