“Take the Stairs” – Rediscovering ‘The Lift’ (Netherlands 1983 – 99 mins)

Posted in Rediscover by - November 07, 2017
“Take the Stairs” – Rediscovering ‘The Lift’ (Netherlands 1983 – 99 mins)

A pleasant surprise, the multi-genre Dutch movie ‘The Lift’ starts off like some mild adult comedy but soon takes a creepy turn, from where things then get more mysterious and sometimes even horrific. But all the while it keeps you entertained and intrigued as to how this neat “Man versus Machine” movie will end.

Following the freak deaths in an office building elevator of a blind man and a nightwatchman, repairman Felix (Huub Stapel) and sexy journalist Mieke (Willeke van Ammelrooy) take it upon themselves to investigate the mysterious lift, which appears to have a deadly life of its own.

While there are some dull moments (notably a domestic subplot), this obscure and hard-to-find film remains highly watchable. There is the odd bloody moment, especially the decapitation of the nightwatchman, but it also has its share of black comedy. I liked the underlying theme of corporate greed and cutting corners, which made the final moments very satisfying, and you even find yourself rooting for the lift!

Dutch writer-director Dick Maas did a great job with a small budget, and won various festival awards for this film, though he does remain best known overseas for the brutal crime picture ‘Amsterdamned’ (’88) which also starred ‘The Lifts’ Huub Stapel. As the snooping journalist; Willeke van Ammelrooy was also very good, and this acclaimed actress went on to play the title role in the beautiful Oscar-winning drama ‘Antonia’ (’95).

The lack of budget for the film meant that some of the crew worked as extras and all the actors performed their own stunts. Director Maas even composed the score himself, saving the cost of hiring a known band.

An enjoyable movie that combines elements of Sci-fi, horror, thriller and fantasy, the mostly engrossing ‘The Lift’ was a fun watch. Mixing black humour, murderous set pieces, and a neat ending, it’s a true one-off and, in these troubling days of unhealthy greed, one that I could see being remade today.

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