De Lift

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De Lift
De Lift poster.jpg
Take the stairs, take the stairs. For God's sake, take the Stairs!!!
Directed by Dick Maas
Produced by Matthijs van Heijningen
Written by Dick Maas
Starring Huub Stapel
Willeke van Ammelrooy
Josine van Dalsum
Music by Dick Maas
Cinematography Marc Felperlaan
Edited by Hans van Dongen
Distributed by Tuschinski Film Distribution
Release dates
Running time
95 min. (Dutch cut)
Country Netherlands
Language Dutch

De Lift (also known as The Lift and The Elevator) is a 1983 film by Dutch director Dick Maas. The story tells about a intelligent and murderous elevator starting a killing spree on random people.

In 2001, an American remake, Down, was made and was also directed by Dick Maas.


In a building in Amsterdam, an elevator inexplicably begins to function alone. The victims of this anomaly are, in the course of the film, an elderly blind man (who falls down the elevator shaft), a night watchman of the building itself (who gets decapitated by the elevator doors), and a janitor (who's snared in the elevator shaft and whose body drops from ceiling hole of the cabin). At the beginning of the film, four people get trapped and almost suffocate in the elevator, which was inexplicably stopped after a power failure caused by lightning but the subsequent power restore didn't resume the elevator ride. A technician responsible for maintaining the elevator (Felix Adelaar (Huub Stapel), begins to examine the electrical system in an attempt to find any anomalies. During the course of several inspections, he meets a journalist, "Mieke De Boer" (Willeke von Ammelrooy), who is a journalist for The Nieuwe Revu, a local magazine. Felix says "he often find this tabloid in his friends Cat litter."

Many inspections don't reveal any apparent malfunctions in the electrical system, but Felix seems to take to heart the continuing freaky malfunctions of the elevator(s). He even doesn't take pleasure anymore in the occasional bowling with his wife Saskia (Van Josine Dalsum) and their mutual friends. Felix's continuing obsession causes a befriended wife to warn his own wife, assuming that there is another woman in the middle ... Meanwhile, Felix continues his investigation, examining the manuals with wiring diagrams. When Felix pays yet another visit to the building with the faulty elevator, he sees a van parked outside the entrance: the company is "Rising Sun", a manufacturer of microprocessors for automation. This company is also revealed as a secret supplier of experimental microprocessors to Felix's elevator company (Deta Liften). With the help of Mieke, Felix collects the archives of many newspaper articles about the company, and one day they decide to meet up with the head of this company.

The couple (Felix and Mieke, the female journalist who disguises herself as a co worker) tries to get information on the manufacturing process of the microprocessors and their possible faulty behavior. The director of the company gets nervous and thus answers abrupt and makes very little time for the interview.

Unfortunately, the escapade soon reaches the ears of Felix's wife, who gets angry just as they are at the table for dinner, along with their son and daughter. The phone rings, Mieke wants to shed some light on the elevator problem and invites Felix to visit a former university teacher of hers, who is specialized in electronics. The teacher talks about microprocessors' sensitivity to external factors, such as electric fields and magnetic fields, radioactivity etc., which undermine then the proper functionality. Felix is perplexed, even when the teacher tells about a computer built years ago, had suddenly begun to self-program, and getting totally out of control.

The next morning, Felix was summoned by his boss at the elevator factory, who was ragingly mad for the little private visit they gave to the "Rising Sun" building, The factory CEA questions the way Felix and his journalist sidekick conducted the interview with the Rising Sun CEO. As a punishment, Felix gets suspended. Later that day when night falls, The owners of Deta Liften and Rising Sun have a secret meeting in a car near the building with the problematic elevator. The conversation has a gritty undertone. Both businessman get nervous as their secret conspiracy of building an elevator controller out of organic material is getting out of hand and killing people.

Left behind by his wife and children who in the man time left home. Felix feels that he doesn't have anything left to do but solve the elevator conspiracy once and for all and see the experiment for himself. He creeps into the building at night time. The lift reveals itself to have a psychopathic mind as it operates nicely while trying to scare him off by crushing a chair that he wants to use to access the shaft. Felix then executes plan B and goes to the top floor with the elevator machinery. The metal enclosure that's supposed to contain the microprocessor is empty, making it clear to the repairman that something is fishy.

Felix returns downstairs, then enters an elevator shaft, climbing on the carriage to start inspecting the inner shaft for the replacement chip. After having plugged in and turned on the flashlight, Felix scans the entire shaft by emergency controls on the elevator roof. The microprocessor senses it and stops him dead in his tracks, so he has to resort to ampine climbing the wires to get to the faint pulsating box he sees above. Felix uncovers the cover plate and the microchip is revealed as a viscous sticky goo crawling around some silicon wafer. Making the sound of a heartbeat, Felix gets intimidated by this scenery and starts attacking the gooey abomination with his screwdriver.

As a reaction to this, the microprocessor starts the elevator in high speed and Felix is getting attacked by its counterweight. This battle goes on for a while. Felix "harms" the organic microcomputer a few times more and each time the counterweight hits him faster when eventually he falls and has to ledgehang himself to the nearest elevator doors. As the elevator cabin is hovering on the floor right above him Felix furiously tries to open the doors from the floor below and tries to get out but his hands slip on the glossy floor.

Meanwhile though: due to the continuous high-speed attacks of the elevator, the cables are rapidly being fatigued and start to break one by one. Felix now seems doomed, but as the final cable breaks and the cabin comes down threatening to totally dismember Felix in half Mieke grabs him and pulls him out, just in the nick of time, sarcastically telling him "I can't ever leave you alone can I ?"

Suddenly the Rising Sun CEO arrives at the scene and realizes that he failed at his experiment. He pulls out a gun and fires 4 shots to the biocomputer, to kill it off once and for all. In its last gust of madness the computer manipulates the cable spindle in such a way that one of the broken cables come out of the shaft, onto the floor grabbing the director and drags him inside the shaft as he gets hanged by the microprocessor.

In the aftermath, Felix and Mieke are both shaken and decide to take the stairs. As they walk downstairs, the credits roll.


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