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Film / De Lift

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You know what, I'll just take the stairs...

Do you know how many people get stuck in an elevator each year? [...] 250.000, just in our country. note 

De Lift ("The Elevator") is a Dutch sci-fi/horror film written, directed and scored by Dick Maas and starring Huub Stapel and Willeke van Ammelrooy.

Inside an office building in Amsterdam, an elevator inexplicably begins to function independently following a lightning storm. The elevator then goes on a murdering spree, killing and injuring anyone who dares to go near it or use it. Among its victims are an elderly blind man who falls to his death when the elevator doors open to an empty shaft, the building night watchman who is decapitated by the elevator doors, and a janitor who is snared in the shaft in which his body drops through the elevator ceiling hatch.

In response to the mysterious malfunctions, technician Felix Adelaar (Stapel) is hired to examine the system in order to find the cause of the problem. Over the course of his investigation, he meets Mieke de Boer (van Ammelrooy), a journalist for De Nieuwe Revu, a tabloid magazine that Felix remarks he often finds in his friends' cat litter. As the inspection continues, Felix slowly becomes more and more obsessed with finding the cause of the anomalies, to the point that he stops interacting with his wife and son. Meanwhile, the body count rises, and the elevator intends to make Felix its next victim.

An American remake titled Down, also made by Maas, was released in 2001.

This film provides examples of:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The underlying cause of the elevator's anomalous behaviour is a malfunctioning bio-computer.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The CEO of Rising Sun shows up at the last minute to destroy the malfunctioning bio-computer.
  • Black Comedy: Some of the death scenes are played for (rather dark) laughs, most notably that of the night watchman.
  • Creator Thumbprint: Having multiple characters named Kees is a recurring element in Dick Maas' films. There are four people in this film named Kees: two security guards, the janitor, and Felix's brother-in-law.
  • Elevator Going Down:
    • Downplayed/Subverted. When the elevator first gets stuck at the beginning of the movie, one of the two couples in it take the opportunity to have sex in the elevator. Before they can carry this out though, the elevator fully turns evil and everybody in it gets unconscious.
    • Alluded to in a sarcastic way by Felix when Mieke taunts him:
      Mieke: Isn't [your job] boring, being in elevators all day?
      Felix: Sometimes it's boring, but why don't you drop by, then we'll take a ride together.
  • Evil Elevator: The Movie
  • Freestate Amsterdam: Averted. The film portrays a fairly realistic (at least, as realistic as you get in a film of this sort) and non-stereotypical version of life in the Dutch capital. Which isn't surprising, since it's a Dutch film.
  • Jerkass: Saskia, who irrationally and shortsightedly accuses her Henpecked Husband Felix of being unfaithful without ever giving him a chance to hear him out to explain what is actually going on and then divorcing him and gaining full custody of their children.
  • Noose Catch: A variation - as the titular homicidal elevator is destroyed and crashes to the bottom of the shaft, the Corrupt Corporate Executive responsible for its creation gets entangled in the loose cables and is hanged in the elevator shaft.
  • Off with His Head!: One of the security guards gets his head stuck between the closed elevator doors, and then is decapitated by the elevator itself.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: The elevator's final act of madness is to shoot one of its broken cables out to drag the Rising Sun CEO inside the shaft and hang him.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: After the night watchman is decapitated, his assistant reacts by promptly vomiting all over the floor.