“We live in a vertical world. If you can’t trust the elevators, what the fuck can you trust?”
After I got aboard the Dick Maas freight train (or elevator, I guess) I decided I shouldn’t skip his English-language remake of THE LIFT. I guess Artisan released it on DVD as THE SHAFT (with a terrible cover), but Blue Underground went back to the original title of DOWN. (And included 151 minutes of behind the scenes footage!? That’s what it says. I didn’t watch it.) One of those stock photo places has a poster from some territory using the DOWN title and it’s ugly but has the excellent tagline “You May Want to Take the Stairs…”
This is part of that strange phenomenon of overseas films remade for American/western audiences by the original director – see also THE VANISHING, NIGHTWATCH, FUNNY GAMES, 13 TZAMETI – but those are usually new directors who caught the eye of Hollywood and were seduced into some shenanigans. “Yeah, it’s great, we loved it, but make it in English now.” This is different because it’s a minor cult movie from 18 full years earlier. In an interview with Rumsey Taylor Maas said that he’d had offers for an American remake since the original movie came out, but was occupied with other projects. But by the ’90s when they were still asking, “Somehow I began taking to the idea… Elevators are a crucial part of American life, so why didn’t it become a subject for one of your big blockbusters? I tried to help you by doing it myself.” (read the rest of this shit…)
VERN has a new action-horror novel out called WORM ON A HOOK! He has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the film criticism books Seagalogy: A Study of the Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal and Yippee Ki-Yay Moviegoer!: Writings on Bruce Willis, Badass Cinema and Other Important Topics as well as the crime novel Niketown.