In an apartment building late at night, two people get into the elevator. They are soon joined by a panicked, blood-stained technician (Hewlett) who claims that evil monsters are in the building and trying to get inside.
It is in many ways a thematic precursor to Natali's subsequent movie Cube, featuring a small group of people coming into conflict with each other when locked up in a small, dangerous area with an ill-defined, almost featureless outside world.
This film provides examples of:
- Ambiguously Evil: Every single character except Hank. Ellen seems normal, but she very quickly snaps under the pressure and kills Hank, Ben was suspiciously carrying a knife and glaring at Ellen, and the passengers at the end could easily be interpreted as the monsters disguising themselves.
- Accidental Murder: After Ben climbs on top of the elevator to get back inside, Hank and Ellen crush Ben against the building's roof by riding the elevator to the top, thinking he is one of the monsters.
- Claustrophobia: Ben is quite claustrophobic and quickly panics when the elevator breaks down. This leads to his death when he goes outside the elevator.
- Elevator Failure: The elevator breaks down completely at one point due to a power break.
- Final Girl: Ellen, although others board the elevator with her.
- Harbinger of Impending Doom: An elevator technician named Hank comes into an elevator screaming about monsters that killed everyone on his floor, and tells them they need to get out of the building.
- Here We Go Again!: When it seems like the madness is over and Hank was just insane, a mass of people from outside the parking lot rush to get into the elevator, the same way that Hank rushed to get inside at the start.
- Minimalism: 3 characters, inside a single elevator, with the only way in props being a few knives.
- Mistaken for Murderer: Ben and Ellen initially think that Hank killed all the people on his floor, as his shirt is soaked with blood and he brandishes a knife in a threatening manner. He clarifies that he didn't, and that they were attacked by some sort of monster.
- Nice Guy: Hank looks like a lunatic at first, but he's actually just a normal guy trying to control the situation he's stuck in.
- No Ending: Ellen kills Hank, and several other passengers board the elevator, confirming that an external threat, if not monsters, was present.
- Nothing Is Scarier: The monsters outside the elevator are never seen and all the horror is derived from the possibility that they might get into the elevator, though Hank compares them to various fictional monsters like Pumpkinhead and Alien to explain what they look like.
- Not His Blood: Hank bursts into the elevator with his shirt covered in blood and holding a knife. After getting shocked reactions from Ben and Ellen, he explains that it's not his own blood, which only worries them even more when they assume he just murdered a bunch of people. He has to explain further that he didn't kill them, the building is actually being attacked by monsters and he only barely managed to escape.
- Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Hank tries to explain what the monsters outside the elevator look like by comparing them to the creature from Pumpkinhead. When Ben doesn't know what he's talking about, Hank quickly acknowledges that the reference is probably too obscure, so instead compares them to the Xenomorphs from Alien.
- Red Herring: A deliberately obvious example. Hank is so obviously a serial killer, that he can't be.
- Verbed Title: As a reference to the fact that an elevator is used, so "Elevated".
- Villain Protagonist: Ellen has become this by the end, when she murders Hank although she has good reason to believe he's not guilty anymore, and might kill the other passengers.
- Xenomorph Xerox: Implied Trope. The monsters are all ofscreen, but when Hank tries to describe them, he compares them both to Pumpkinhead and the Xenomorphs. At any rate, they're highly aggressive and can hide in the dark hallways of the apartment building.