De Lift

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The Lift
De Lift poster.jpg
Original Dutch theatrical release poster
Directed byDick Maas
Produced byMatthijs van Heijningen
Written byDick Maas
StarringHuub Stapel
Willeke van Ammelrooy
Josine van Dalsum
Music byDick Maas
CinematographyMarc Felperlaan
Edited byHans van Dongen
Production
company
Sigma Film Productions
Distributed byTuschinski Film Distribution
Island Alive
Release date
  • May 11, 1983 (1983-05-11) (Netherlands)
  • July 5, 1985 (1985-07-05) (United States)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryNetherlands
LanguageDutch
Budget€350,000 (estimated)

De Lift (also known as The Lift) is a 1983 Dutch science-fiction horror film directed and written by Dick Maas. The plot concerns an elevator that mysteriously begins to function intelligently on its own, where victims who go near the elevator or use it are killed.

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

Plot[edit]

In a building in Amsterdam, an elevator inexplicably begins to function alone. After a lightning storm causes a power failure and traps four people in the elevator, the elevator fails to open even after a subsequent power restore, and the passengers almost suffocate. Soon, subsequent malfunctions prove fatal as an elderly blind man falls to his death when the elevator doors open to an empty shaft, the building night watchman is decapitated, and a janitor is seemingly burned alive.

Felix Adelaar (Huub Stapel), a technician from the elevator company Deta Liften, begins to examine the electrical system in an attempt to find any anomalies. During the course of several inspections, he meets Mieke de Boer (Willeke van Ammelrooy), a journalist for De Nieuwe Revu, a local tabloid. When inspections reveal no apparent problems with the electrical system, Felix becomes obsessed with the continuing malfunctions of the elevator; this has a negative impact on his marriage as his wife Saskia (Josine van Dalsum) begins to suspect he is having an affair. When Felix pays yet another visit to the building, he notices a van parked outside from Rising Sun, a manufacturer of microprocessors for automation and a secret supplier of experimental microprocessors to Deta Liften. Felix and Mieke, after collecting newspaper clippings about Rising Sun, try to meet with the company's CEO, who acts nervous and answers abruptly.

Mieke invites Felix to meet up with her former university professor who specializes in electronics. The professor explains microprocessors' sensitivity to external factors, such as electric fields, magnetic fields, and radioactivity, which undermine the proper functionality. He tells about a computer built years ago which suddenly begun to self-program and went out of control. The next morning, Felix's boss angrily suspends him for his unauthorized visit to Rising Sun. That evening, the owners of Deta Liften and Rising Sun meet to discuss how to stop the elevator's computer processor, which is built from organic material, from killing people.

Saskia leaves Felix, taking their children with her. With nothing left to lose, Felix goes to the building to solve the elevator mystery. He discovers that the elevator has a sentient mind when it tries to prevent him from accessing its microprocessor. Instead Felix climbs into the elevator shaft and finds a pulsating box; inside is sticky goo covering a silicon chip—the elevator's heart. As Felix attacks the box with a wrench, the elevator uses its counterweight to knock him off balance. He manages to land on a ledge just below the elevator doors, and is rescued by Mieke just before the elevator is able to crush him.

As Rising Sun's CEO arrives to see that his experiment failed, he pulls out a pistol and fires into the biocomputer to seemingly kill it. The computer then shoots one of the broken cables out to drag him inside the shaft and hangs him. As a shaken Felix and Mieke walk down the stairs the elevator's heartbeat continues.

Cast[edit]

  • Josine van Dalsum as Saskia Adelaar


Critical response[edit]

Critical reception for De Lift has been mixed, with some commending the film for its blending of humor, and suspense; while others criticizing its execution. Variety Magazine in particular praised the film, writing, "Humor from charcoal gray to pitch black, fine suspense, murders and thrills, and all of it without gratuitous gore combine for a jaunty entertainment in The Lift, director Dick Maas’ first theatrical test, which he passes handsomely."[1] Dennis Schwartz from Ozus' World Movie Reviews rated the film a grade B-, stating that the film was "Played more for a black comedy than for a corporate greed or menace film."[2]

Janet Maslin of The New York Times was highly critical of the film, calling it "remarkably tension-free", and criticized its execution as being "too tepid". Maslin further stated, "In the hands of the right film maker, of course, even a toaster can be terrifying. But Mr. Maas leaves the elevator's potential fiendishness largely unexploited."[3] Time Out London gave the film a negative review, writing "the movie is shafted by confusions of script and execution, neither of which match up to the original good idea."[4] TV Guide awarded the film a mixed two out of five stars, stating that the film was "Surprisingly effective", while also stating that it was not particularly scary.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "De Lift – Variety". Variety.com. Variety Staff. December 31, 1982. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  2. ^ Schwartz, Dennis (March 1, 2014). "lift". Sover.net. Dennis Schwartz. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  3. ^ Maslin, Janet (July 4, 1985). "FILM: 'LIFT,' A MAD ELEVATOR - The New York Times". NYTimes.com. Janet Maslin. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  4. ^ "The Lift, directed by Dick Maas". Time Out.com. CPea. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  5. ^ "The Lift - Movie Reviews and Movie Ratings". TV Guide.com. TV Guide. Retrieved 3 April 2019.

External links[edit]