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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Dark Floors

Well, now that we've all survived Thanksgiving(barely...I feel like I might burst at any second!), let's finish the week with some leftover turkey. But which one? If you recall, Netflix sent me 2 scary movies, one about a group of people in a haunted hospital(Dark Floors), and the other about some partying kids being killed by a pinata(Pinata: Survival Island).

Well, after flipping a coin and getting my meenie's eenied, I went with Dark Floors. I figured I needed some distance between Doll Graveyard and my next "inanimate object kills people" movie(heh, next week...), so that left a clear winner in the battle for my attention. So, put down your utensils, skip the last piece of pumpkin pie, and let's get this turkey SPOILED!

Okay, opening credits: somebody's drawing all over my screen, with a red crayon. Apparently, some kind of hard-rockin' band named Lordi made this film. And I think they're Swedish or something, because the names of the film's crew all look like they're hard to pronounce.

Anyway, the first scene is of a young girl in an MRI machine. She looks scared, and she's mumbling "not again" over and over. From an observation room, we see the girl's father, a nurse and a doctor watching her brain activity on some monitors. Her father asks if the test is hurting her, but the doctor assures him that the machine doesn't inflict pain.

The girl seems to fall asleep, then she regains consciousness with a sudden jolt. As she starts to scream and demand a red crayon, the MRI has a power surge. The lights flicker, then the machine starts to smoke. Boy, this would be fun to watch if you had surgery the next day, huh?

So now we finally learn a few names. The young girl is Sarah, and her father is Ben. The nurse is Emily, and the doctor doesn't get a name. That either means he's the first to die, or he gets to live. Eh.

Ben rescues Sarah from the equipment before she gets burned, then plops her into a wheelchair. He gives her the red crayon, then threatens to take his daughter to a different hospital. Maybe one where crap doesn't explode at random intervals? Doctor Anonymous and Emily try to calm him down, and we find out that Sarah is autistic. They've been studying her case for quite some time, but have never come to any definitive conclusions.

As Ben tucks Sarah back into her hospital bed, a storm rages outside. Sarah still seems agitated, and ske keeps saying, "not again", even after her father backs away. At some point during the night, Ben wakes her up, after deciding to take his daughter to a different hospital.

They get as far as the elevator, then Sarah starts to ramble about her crayons again. The noise gets the attention of the staff, and Nurse Emily asks Ben to reconsider moving his daughter. As Ben backs the wheelchair into the elevator, Sarah grabs the wall.

Emily gets on the elevator with them, as well as a businessman on a phone, a security guard, and an elderly man who looks homeless. The elevator descends toward the lobby, then grinds to a halt after the seventh floor. As the lights go out again, one of the characters mutters, "Not 6, not 7. Not Hell, and not Heaven." Oooh, symbolism!

The homeless man, Tobias, looks like he passed out, so the security guy tries to revive him. When that doesn't work, Emily steps in to assess his condition. She advises them to call for further assistance, but no one has a working phone anymore.

The security guy, Rick, tries the emergency call button in the elevator. No response from that, either. Eventually it works, but all he hears is his own voice. While that's going on, Emily tries to save Tobias with CPR. When he finally starts to breath again, the power also seems to come back on. Tobias stands up, then demands to know why they didn't let him die.

The elevator doors finally open up, but the corridor is empty. No nurses, no janitorial staff, the place is like a museum. Even the patients have deserted the area. Rick suggests that there might have been a fire drill or something, so they wander off to find the nearest stairwell. As the walk away, Sarah eyes a suspicious shadow lurking behind an office door. Hmmm...

At an intersection in the hallway, Ben stops the group to listen to something. It's a machine, and it's in a room right next to them. Rick opens the door, and they discover that a copy machine was left on. Emily examines a few of the images that came through, revealing a screaming mouth.

Emily tells Ben that it's almost time to give his daughter a dose of some new medication they've been testing. It helps control seizures, but is still very experimental. Then they all hear another mysterious sound.

It's a woman in a wheelchair, and she's stuck in a corner. The sound was caused by her repeatedly whacking the chair into the wall. Rick offers to help her, but a closer inspection reveals that she's dead. Oh, and it looks like her eyes were torn out of their sockets.

Tobias starts to flip out, so they cover the corpse's face. Then Rick tries a nearby intercom, but hears only his own message coming back to him. Technology and this hospital don't seem to get along...Oh, and as they continue the search for a way out, we see that Sarah was drawing the face of the eyeless woman. Nice touch.

They manage to find the emergency stairs, but that whole area seems to be covered in mold and fungus. They begin their descent to the ground floor, with Ben carrying his daughter, and Rick lugging around the wheelchair. Great, I guess I have time to grow a beard...

A noise from one of the levels beneath them brings the procession, and the movie to a grinding halt. As they glance over the railing, a gun goes off. No one is killed, but Rick gets nicked around his jawline. It's just my luck to pick a movie with no body count.

They all scurry out of the stairwell at the fifth floor, and hide in the nearest open room. After making sure that the door can't be opened by their attacker, Rick has his small wound examined by Emily. As they all make an effort to calm down, heavy thudding sounds are heard moving toward their location. Everybody stares at the blocked door, with the exception of Sarah. She's glancing nervously at a pair of double-doors at the far end of the room.

As they all debate whether or not they should try the stairs again, Tobias watches Sarah wheel herself quietly over to the other exit. They all decide to follow her. Sure, why not?

They come to a security station, where Rick turns on a series of monitors. They realize, as each monitor powers up, that the entire hospital is empty, as if the building has been abandoned. The phones are still dead, yet the lights and intercom system work just fine.

Speaking of the intercom, Jon(the irritable businessman) decides to use it. He call for help from anyone who can hear the message, then gives out their location. Yeah, someone just tried to shoot you, so you should tell them exactly where you are. Jon's a brilliant strategist.

The other pretty much tell him the same thing, and Sarah looks over at another set of doors. Then the nurse sees something on one of the screens: a couple walking around on the third floor. When they walk offscreen, the monitor fritzes out. Actually, they all do.

Sarah wheels herself to a point directly in front of the doorway she was watching, and the doors seem to open under the power of her gaze. The others discuss their next move, and seem to disagree about just what that should be. Emily thinks that the priority should be to figure out where everyone else went, while Rick just wants to keep heading to the exit. Uh, why can't y'all do both?

They notice that Sarah's gone again, and conduct a search. C'mon, she's an autistic child confined to a wheelchair....tie a freakin' bell to her, if you have this much trouble! Before they leave the security station, Ben grabs a pair of walkie-talkies to bring along. Tobias wordlessly points him to the door she passed through.

Sarah's chair is in the middle of the hallway, and she looks like she might be sleeping. As Ben moves closer, he sees a ghastly female phantom reflected in the window of another door, but she swiftly vanishes again. He rescues Sarah, then rejoins the group.

Emily knows that Ben was spooked by something, but he won't talk about the apparition. Then a television and a portable radio both turn on at the same time, and 2 messages are heard: "There's no time like the present" and "...and it's gonna get colder and colder". As they ponder what it all means, Jon's phone rings.

He answers it, but it's just a recorded "out of service" message. The same thing happens to Emily and Ben when their phones go off. Sarah stops drawing to cover her ears, and Tobias decides to follow suit. As nutty as he is, he seems to be the smartest adult in the film.

There's a high-pitched whistle, and the glass in the television begins to crack, as do some of the windows. That female ghost appears again, and she's got the forehead of a Klingon. Rick fires a gun at her, shattering the glass, but leaving the spirit unaffected.

She grins, then emits a sonic shriek, which breaks even more glass around them. They flee down the hall, seeking refuge in the stairwell again. As they relax, the spirit finds them again, leading to a silly, slo-mo chase back into the hall. How is it possible that so many of these things devolve into ridiculous Scooby-Doo episodes?

The banshee swoops closer, raising her hands like talons, and someone accidentally backs into a control panel. An X-ray turns on, and the radiation it emits causes the spirit to disappear. See? Something in that hospital DID work!

Tobias is confronted by Ben, who wants to know how he predicted that the sound would happen before it did. Tobias turns the accusation back on him, wondering if stuff like this has happened in their family before that day. Jon, always the helpful one, thinks that it's just kind of hallucination, possibly brought on by a gas leak.

As the others scoff at him, Jon decides that he's better off on his own. He leaves the group to find his own escape route, and Emily says that they should do the same. The Amazing Race: Hallway Edition begins!

Jon tries to find a signal on his phone, then strolls down a corridor. He comes to an elevator and finds, to his amazement, that it sounds like it might be operational. He senses a presence behind him, but no one seems to be there.

The elevator arrives, and he steps inside. At the very last second, he sees that his watch has stopped, and senses that he's walked into a trap. He manages to stop the doors a second before they shut, and he screams for help.

The rest of the group hear him, and rush over to see what they can do. As they all work together to try and force the doors to slide apart, something appears to be lunging at Jon from underneath the elevator. Jon gets knocked off of his feet, then a pair of large claws tear through the elevator floor.

Rick grabs a fire extinguisher, intending to batter the doors until they open wider, but he manages to knock out Jon instead. Awesome. A demon clad in armor starts to climb up into the elevator, and Rick bashes it in the head until it lowers itself back into the shaft.

Tobias, who has remained back in the previous area with Emily and Sarah, somehow stole Rick's gun when he wasn't looking. He plans to kill himself with it, and Emily can't seem to talk him down. Suddenly Sarah speaks, promising Tobias that he will get to sleep when the ordeal ends, and he allows Emily to take the weapon from him. He rambles about how cold he's getting, and Emily just stands between the both of them,looking perplexed. Join the club, babe!

Rick and Ben pull Jon's slumped-over body out of the elevator, but then the scaly monster comes back. It clenches Jon's ankle in its enormous mouth, and the struggle to free him causes some of the elevator cables to snap. They pull Jon to safety as the creature plummets down the elevator shaft.

Emily bandages the wound when they all reunite, then Ben notices that Sarah's latest drawing looks like the monster they just encountered. He attempt to ask her about it, but she gets fixated on wanting the red crayon again.

Jon antagonizes Ben, and they nearly have a brawl right there. Noise from the intercom interrupts the altercation, and everybody gets excited. Help might be on the way! They go out to the corridor to hear it better, then Emily attempts to make contact with the intercom.

A woman replies, and they hear her say that she's on the third floor. Then the voice warns them that "it" is coming, and the transmission cuts off. They figure that they had better make their way down to that person's location.

They get to the next floor, but find a wall where the door should be. They bash the wall until a large hole is made, but it's been bricked over on the other side. Well, so much for the third floor rescue attempt!

They arrive at the third floor, where Emily finds the body of a doctor named Walter. He's clutching a tape recorder in one hand, and they play a message that advises them to surrender Sarah to the creatures. Ben refuses, so the journey continues.

They find a corridor filled with corpses, and the armored beast comes lunging at them through a doorway. They try to escape, but it chases them. Rick fires his gun at the monster, telling the others to escape. He runs out of bullets, and the others hear him getting killed. Then, everything goes eerily calm again.

Jon pisses off Ben when he asks him to sacrifice Sarah to save the rest of them, and another near-fight begins. Then they see the world outside of the closest window. everything appears to be frozen in time, as is evidenced by a flash of lightning that is just hanging out of the sky. Even the rain is stuck in mid-air. That seems...odd...

The intercom distracts them yet again, so Emily answers it. A voice asks her what floor she's on, and they all realize that it's the very same conversation they had earlier, only from the other end. Emily was answering herself, and never realized it.

As a group, they try to come up with a reasonable explanation for everything that has happened so far. The top ideas are either that timed has stopped, or they've somehow slipped into another dimension. Neither of those concepts explain anything, however. Good job!

Emily and Ben return to the brick wall with a sledgehammer, to see if they can make an exit. Oh, and they find a gun on a body covered in sand. They leave Sarah with Jon, and warn him not to harm Sarah. Yeah, he's really good at following orders. Anyone remember how well he did when he took orders in the movie Aliens? (I checked...he was in that one, and he was pretty inept.)

Ben gets to work on that wall, and Emily reveals that she's also a single parent. Then they have a trippy moment, when they nearly come face-to-face with themselves at the stairwell. It turns out that Ben was the one who shot at Jon earlier. Weird, man.

Jon breaks his promise, of course, and prepares to surrender the autistic girl to the demons. Then Ben breaks through that brick wall, and he and Emily explore the new corridor. A noise leads to the discovery of some more corpses.

Jon loudly announces that he's brought Sarah to be sacrificed, and tries to draw them out into the open. Someone plunges a knife through his back, and we see that it's Tobias, attempting to rescue Sarah. Ben and Emily hear some of it on their end of the transmission, then we see Jon giving Tobias the thrashing of his life.

Sarah draws another image, one that predicts Jon's death. The lights flicker, then Jon is bombarded by a hurricane-like wind, and a large mass of sand and dirt. When it stops, a mummy-like skeleton grabs Jon under his chin with one hand, using the other to rip out his still-beating heart.

Ben thrusts a stretcher at the monster, and it crashes into a wall. He checks to see that Sarah's okay, then he and Emily examine Tobias. Not only has he died, but he's well into a state of decay, appearing to have been dead for a few weeks. Not only that, but they find another mound of bodies on their way down to the second floor.

Ben asks Sarah to draw the exit for him, but she doesn't seem able to do that. As they stop to look for Sarah's medication, Emily remembers that there's a shortcut to the exit in the morgue. They celebrate, but then realize that Sarah is missing for the umpteenth time.

They split up to look for her, and Emily is forced to hide when one of the creatures arrives at her location. Unfortunately, Ben tries to make contact with Emily via the walkie, and the monster hears it. When the creature seems distracted by something else, Emily risks standing up, and attempts to escape.

No, wait a sec, she has another idea first...picking up a pair of defibrillator paddles, Emily sneaks up behind the monster. When it(he?) turns around, Emily places the paddles on each side of the creature's head, electrocuting it. Not wanting to stick around to see if she killed it, Emily runs out of the room.

Ben comes looking for her, and rushes through another pair of swinging doors. There's a flash of white light, and he discovers himself back in a very normal-looking area of the hospital again. It's filled with people and light, but no one seems to be able to see or hear him as he asks for help.

When he tries to tap a woman in a lab coat on the shoulder, his hand passes right through her. Is he a ghost, or is she? He leaves to look through a different corridor, and Emily contacts him. Neither none of them has found Sarah yet.

Ben stops outside of door 235, and Emily claims to be standing in front of the very same door. But where his location is brightly illuminated, hers is dark and abandoned. Emily references a poster of a teddy bear to clarify that it's the same door, and Ben sees it too...but it's very ragged and faded in her reality, while Ben sees it while it's clean and new.

Ben walks through another set of doors, and finds himself back in the decrepit hallway again. A fluorescent light flickers, and Ben sees his daughter at the opposite end of the hall. Then the very meager light goes completely out, and a tall demon shows up, something that resembles a typical zombie.

The monster growls like a tiger, and decides to beat the living crap out of Ben. While he's being tossed like a salad, Tobias suddenly pops up again. He sneaks up behind the zombie for a quick attack, but it anticipates his move, spinning around to gut him. As Ben turns to get his daughter, Tobias whispers that he's going the wrong way.

Sarah's trying to get away again, and she tells her father that she's trying to stop what's happening. Before he can clarify what she means, Emily returns. Oh, and the biggest demon so far also shows up, looming over all of them. Emily and Ben carefully back  Sarah's chair away from this new monster, and they enter the elevator. The demon strides toward them, soon breaking into a full run. Just as he reaches the elevator, the door slam shut.

They watch the various floors light up, and the light on "1" flickers as they reach the first floor. When the doors refuse to open, Ben tries to jam his finger several times on the button. The elevator starts to move yet again, stopping at a floor designated as "-1". It appears to be the hospital basement.

Sarah covers her ears again, and the ghostly woman pops up again. She screams at Emily, who now also has her ears covered. Then she and Sarah look at each other, and the ghost dissolves.

They proceed down the dark and shadowy hallway, and dead bodies chase them into another area, where the parking garage is located. As they look for a better escape route, Emily is cut off from Ben and Sarah by a door that slams shut between them. They try to get the door open, but then something on Emily's side grabs her.

Sarah warns her father that something is coming, so he gets her into an ambulance. They drive away, but there appears to be no exit. Ben crashes the ambulance into a row of cars, and has trouble getting it re-started. Then the largest demon shows up, complete with big, leathery wings and a bushy beard. They get away, but just barely in the nick of time.

Sarah starts to mutter "what happens will happen", while Ben drives around looking for any kind of exit. Ben decides to pull over, and he gently puts Sarah on the ground with a blanket. He promises that somebody will co,me along to rescue her, then he drives off to face the winged demon.

They see each other, and Ben slams his foot down on the gas pedal. Seconds before he strikes the demon, a white light flashes in front of him. He shields his eyes, then stops the ambulance.

It's Sarah. He walks over to her, and then realizes that he was being lured out of the safety of the vehicle. A black, writhing ooze crawls up his body, and he disintegrates. Then Sarah faces down the winged demon, and demands to go home. He snarls at her, and they seem to engage in a weird sort of debate. Sarah tells him that light can't live in darkness, then she closes her eyes.

We see the lobby of the hospital, as well as the elevator shaft, and several corridors. All are still empty. Then, after another flash of brilliant white light, Sarah finds herself back in the MRI machine. She screams and struggles, and Ben carries her out of the room.

Back in her chair, she lets her father hand her a blue crayon. Then they make their way to the lobby, where Sarah sees Tobias again. He leans over, smiles, then tells Sarah that he's not cold anymore. She drops the blue crayon, and it breaks, so Ben and Emily lean over to help her. THE END...?

Man, I  don't know WHAT I just watched. It ultimately wasn't a slasher, even though there were many, many dead bodies. But I'm still not even sure what happened. Were they all dead? Was the hospital even real? Who were the piles of corpses, and why did the demons get overpowered by Sarah? Weird. 3.5 out of 5, because it was pretty great as a visual experience, if nothing else.

And what did I learn after seeing Dark Floors?

-MRI machines are deadly.

-Ghosts are powerless against X-rays.

-Hospitals leaves their dead patients in piles, for anybody to just come across.

Next up: the less grim-sounding Pinata: Survival Island. Happy late Thanksgiving!