The chase inevitably leads into a multi-story building. The chase-ee ducks into an elevator, and the chaser arrives just in time for the doors to close in on his or her face. As their quarry rides up to the top in relative comfort, the pursuer is forced to wait for the next elevator or, more likely, take the stairs. Regardless of which route they take, it's still somehow possible for the chaser to arrive at the same floor just seconds after their quarry. This can also be used in a race against time. Bonus points if the chase-ee frantically presses the "Close Door" button, in the hopes that this will make the door close faster than normal.note Occasionally, particularly when the pursuer is a killer robot, a horde of zombies, or other inhuman creature, the doors will close on their arms, forcing the hero to either push away or chop off the intruding limb(s) before their pursuer(s) manage to pry the door open. Never mind that a properly-working elevator should open automatically once it detects something in the way of the door. As Dogbert's Clues for the Clueless says (following advice about avoiding Uncomfortable Elevator Moments): "Don't try to crush people by pushing the 'Close' button. I've tried it and it doesn't work." One Exploitation of this is for a fleeing character to start an elevator, their pursuer to set up an ambush at the assumed exit point... and then the doors to open to an empty carriage. Cut to the escapee making his exit another way, or even ambushing the ambush. See also Elevator Escape.
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Films — Live Action
- Action variant in Terminator 2: Judgment Day: the T-1000 forces open the doors of the shaft and drops on top of the car, attacking through the car ceiling. Slightly earlier, it got its hooks between the doors and began to pry them open. Arnie's Terminator stopped it via a point-blank shotgun blast to the face.
- The Second Elevator variant is used in True Lies.
- Justified in Schwarzenegger's film Commando when he jumps on top of the elevator car the chase-ee is taking.
- Played straight in The Rock. Sean Connery takes a lift down six or seven storeys, Nicholas Cage takes the stairs. Resulting increase in lead = 0.
- In National Treasure, Ben is attempting to steal the Declaration of Independence. As he's getting away, a rival thief spots him, and tries to get to the elevator.
- In the Stargate SG-1 movie, The Ark of Truth, replicators jam a door open on the Odyssey. Mitchel shoots them off to close it.
- In Aliens, when Ripley and Hicks are trying to escape, they make it to an elevator. Hicks repeatedly pushes the button, and the door starts to close... too late to stop a xenomorph from nearly getting to the heroes (and dousing Hicks with acid).
- In Adventures in Babysitting a girl is being chased by two car thieves because she has information that they needed for their next job, she ducks into the elevator, and the door closes on the thieves, forcing them to wait for the elevator to come back down, later the babysitter and her friends take the elevator and retrieve her...
- Happens twice at the end of Midnight Madness:
- Adam gets into one express elevator and it closes just before Harold can get there, forcing harold to take the other one...
- Again, Adam gets to the elevator to the guest rooms before Harold can get there, and Harold takes the stairs, but not before he shuts off all the elevators.
Live Action TV
- In an episode of Due South, a man Fraser and Ray Kowalski are chasing who is Ray Vecchio, still undercoverdodges into an elevator. Ray tosses Fraser his cell phone, and while Fraser races up the stairs, Ray calls from a payphone to tell him which floor the elevator stops on.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In "Intervention", Spike forces open the doors to the elevator shaft and drops onto a descending elevator to escape Glory's minions. However they're able to get to the ground floor to cut him off by the time the slow-moving elevator gets there, as they're going down the stairs.
- In Dead Space, this happens when a necromorph chases you near the start. The elevator slams shut, cutting its body in half. Not exactly OHS compliant...
- It's a subversion in the beginning of that part, though. Isaac makes it into an elevator and the door shuts in front of the Necromorph...then the Necromorph pulls the doors open and manages to get inside before the door slices it in half.
- In Mirror's Edge, this happens while you're chasing Jacknife, resulting in you having to take the other elevator.
- Happens to your opponents a couple of times, too, with Faith getting the elevator closed just as a hail of bullets strike the doors.
- In Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, you have to use this to your advantage. LeChuck confronts you by an elevator. If you can get the doors to close on him, you can tear off part of his beard which you need for a voodoo charm.
- After defeating Ryan in Win Back, he blows up himself and the express elevator, redirecting you through the long way to the control center.
- The opening of Left 4 Dead 2 features Ellis getting ensnared by a Smoker just as he enters an elevator. Two common infected try to pull him out, but Coach chainsaws through them all and the four protagonists are safe (for about thirty seconds).
- Done in Sam and Fuzzy, with the chaser taking the stairs. Of course, he's the determinator, so he arrives first...
- No matter how the Big Bad Wolf tries to escape Droopy, whenever any door he shuts is re-opened, the doggedly determined Droopy will be standing there.
- Justice League: The Flash has a Too Dumb to Live moment when, after the rest of the League is possessed by an ancient evil, he tries to take the elevator instead of running.
- Happens in Star Wars: Clone Wars, near the end of the second season. Shaak Ti and two other Jedi take Chancellor Palpatine down a hallway as Grievous begins slashing his way through the assembled guards. They call the elevator while listening to Grievous fighting, and when it all goes quiet, the Ithorian Jedi repeatedly mashes the button. They do make it inside though, despite Grievous busting out of the office and running down the hall towards them.
- Used as part of the punchline of a chapter in a computer graphics book. The author recounts a story involving him and a couple of his friends streaking through a hotel hallway, knowing that the timing of the elevator worked out just right for the doors to close behind them and cut off pursuit. The author got ahead of his compatriots and got the doors to close early, leaving them stranded. He was so tickled at how clever he was that he didn't realize that the elevator had gotten to the ground floor before it opened up on the lobby. Which, of course, introed the chapter on raw speed and exposed faces.
- In William Shatner's Get a Life, he mentions one time Nimoy got recognized entering a hotel where a con was. He and the organizers barely made it to the elevator in time, but they heard their pursuers running up the stairs in the adjacent shaft. They made it most of the way to the stage before the fans arrived.
- Hitoshi Nikaidoh was decapitated this way by an elevator with malfunctioning door sensors.