Down (2001) (Collector’s Edition) (Blu-ray/DVD Review)
Directed By: Dick Maas
Starring: Huub Stapel, Willeke van Ammelrooy, Josine van Dalsum
Rated: R/Region: O/2:35/1080p/Number of disc: 2
Available From Blue Underground
When the express elevators in New York City’s 102-story Millennium Building start to malfunction, elevator mechanics Mark (James Marshall of TWIN PEAKS) and Jeff (Eric Thal of THE PUPPET MASTERS) are sent to find the cause. After a series of gruesome and deadly accidents occur, Mark joins forces with spunky reporter Jennifer (Naomi Watts of THE RING), who’s on the hunt for a juicy story. As the death toll rises and the building is sealed off amid claims of terrorism, Mark and Jennifer attempt to unravel the horrifying secret behind the mysterious behavior of the bloodthirsty lift before it takes them and the entire city DOWN!
Down is of course also known as “The Shaft” and is also a remake of The Lift. This time, however, we are full on over the top and have a starring combination of Naomi Watts and James Marshall who you have probably seen in David Lynch movies before. Here, in Down, we have a bit of a changed up plot that does go down the same path as the original but effort sees to have been put into this to make the characters better. If that works is still debatable. This time around the film takes a few different turns along the way but any memorable moment from the original film is re-done for this one. The only negative side to that is CGI is used a whole lot and as a result is kind of hurts the head decapitation scene but one could probably take both as a prime example of what was bad with both CGI (from this film) and the practical effects from the original. The movie does make more than a few missteps along the way.
The one thing that might make this movie a good party movie with a crowd of people is the same thing that might bring it down solo. This movie is all over the place and everyone seems to be overly hamming it up. I guess it might be hard to keep a straight face when making a movie about a killer elevator but everyone involved in this one seems to just go above and beyond to make things as silly as they can. The sad thing is I just don’t think we have the type of actors one needs to pull this off in this case and Watts can’t even seem to save this one. James Marshall was great as the brooding character he played in Twin Peaks (even with a lot of folks not liking him then) but he’s not a very good lead here. The movie still has a thing about it that keeps you watching for better or for worse. It also looks really good, but overplayed its hand ultimately and isn’t as good as The Lift.
– Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Dick Maas and Stunt Coordinator Willem de Beukelaer
– The Making Of DOWN
– Behind-the-Scenes Footage [Blu-ray Exclusive]
– Theatrical Trailer
– Teaser Trailers
– Poster & Still Gallery
– BONUS Collectable Booklet with new essay by author Michael Gingold
Quality of Transfer: 97%