Review: The Elevator

Written and directed by the film’s solo star Toni V. Genov, a young man gets stuck in an elevator, only to discover that the help he gets is not the one he would have hoped for.

Genov proved with his last short film 2088 that he can get creative even with a very limited set up and this new film solidifies that strength. It’s shot in one extremely confined space and takes place over less than five minutes, so you’d imagine that would cut down your options but this filmmaker makes it work and does so well. The story has a quality of curiosity, there are touches that make you question whether it’s set today or in a not too far future, and with not having a clock you’re never quite sure how much time has actually passed with each fast forward. It’s smartly written, when the story reaches its catalyst, you don’t see it coming but it’s a satisfying surprise. Its ending may not necessarily be entirely new, it does fit in with lines you can find in existing sci-fi and horror but that doesn’t make it feel repetitive or unoriginal, it still works on its own two feet.

One of the interesting things about this film is that the balance falls evenly between the impact of the atmosphere and Genov’s performance. Even for a film with such a singular focus, it doesn’t rest entirely on the shoulders of the acting. Part of that is due to the purposely restricted angle of the shot, half of the time you can’t see Genov’s face so you have to fill in the gaps with your imagination which feeds into the tone it builds. However, the performance is still a key factor, it adds emotion and fear to the story.

There’s a similarly great balance to the visual quality, it has all the grain you expect from a CCTV style set-up but it feels done in a way to not sacrifice the clarity. Resulting in a nice realistic feel to its style, which is another element that helps build the strong atmosphere of the film. It has a great pace to it, using the fast forward only briefly to intensify the story means that it doesn’t make it feel as though it’s being rushed.

The Elevator is smart, satisfying and creative. Genov uses a simple set up to create an intriguing story that both feels new and plays upon familiar themes. It uses the viewer’s imagination to help build its curious and suspenseful atmosphere. It’s a great short film that does a lot with little and is an enjoyable four and a half minutes.

Verdict: ✯✯✯✯| 8/10

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