Dark Floors: the Lordi motion picture – movie review

the Kissogram wasn't as popular as expected

 

You may recall that in 2006, a troupe of “heavy metal monsters” won the Eurovision Song Contest. Lordi was the band, and their GWAR-inspired power Rawk-and -Rubber Masks combo was a novel quirk that sealed them a place in the history books and Finland’s first ever Eurovision victory. It would seem that their lead singer, the enigmatically pseudonymed “Mr Lordi” has been a life-long fan of gory cinema and has cannily exploited his band’s triumphal status by writing a real life actual horror movie, built around his rubbery minions.The natural conclusion to jump to would be that this film is one big camp schlock-fest, so it comes as a bit of a surprise that it’s actually pretty good! Commercials and tv director Pete Riski makes the most of his first time with a feature, and has crafted something very solid indeed.

 

Plotwise, A group of individuals become stuck in a hospital lift which powers down halfway between floors 6 and 7 of a hospital: when they emerge on the 6th floor, everybody else has disappeared and their aim is simply to get to the ground and flee. As they descend, each level appears more diseased and rotten (excellent set design), and the group is terrorised sequentially by each of the members of Lordi.

The hospital setting is suitably spooky, and there’s a lo-fi charm which heightens suspense. In many ways I was reminded of Dark Castle horrors like “House on Haunted Hill” or “Ghost Ship.” A lot of familiar horror tropes are in place: the spooky kid, the angry black cop, the selfish businessman, the pretty nurse, the knowledgeable stranger, malfunctioning technology, moebial intercoms, flickering strip lights, exploding windows, etc. Whilst incorporating these elements is hardly original, somehow they manage not to feel Too clichéd here. Numerous supernatural elements are unresolved & unexplained, other than to be monstrous and unsettling.

 

There is one glaring and obvious problem that this film has though – Lordi. For all the tension and suspense that the film creates, when a rubber-faced beastie bursts through a door, looking like a Village People Cenobite, the film does indeed become camp and silly. One demon’s arrival in a studded leather jacket called to mind a feral Gary Glitter. Ultimately though, this is “the Lordi movie” so it’s highly likely the audience has been counting the minutes awaiting their arrival – had the original band’s designs been more gruesome they would not have enjoyed the coverage and Eurovision success that they have to date, so it’s easier to just laugh and cheer along than get bogged down in detail.

 

Dark Floors is a fun, well made ghost story that doesn’t expect to be taken seriously, but would go down well with a group of friends and some beers.

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