This high-concept, claustrophobic thriller can be summed up in one sentence - 9 people in a lift, and one of them has a bomb on a timer. Among them are a cavalcade of obnoxious characters, including a pregnant woman, a comedian, the owner of the building, his granddaughter, and Buzz from Home Alone. There's plenty of padding in this 84-minute pic, and also a handful of contrivance - note how conveniently the lift's security guard's battery dies - as well as some unnecessary personal drama, but once the bomb reveal occurs - albeit far too late into the pic - things do start to get interesting. Elevator's second half of course emphasises the group's plan for an escape, with desperation mounting, and no timer on the bomb as is typical of Hollywood fare; it can detonate pretty much at any time once the film's third act rolls around. Yes, it's ridiculous that a bomb disposal team takes so long to arrive on site, and yes, most of the bad things seem to be caused by one incredibly annoying little girl, but this does set forward in motion a number of genuinely tense scenes as the straits become increasingly more dire. A time issue only comes into play in the final moments, appropriately giving it the final tensile push needed to reach the finish line, even if one can't help that the characters finally arrive at a conclusion that the audience probably had half an hour ago. Needless to say, the ending doesn't disappoint, and it's much better than similar films, like Devil for instance. This is a breezy, to-the-point thriller.
Frequently sleep-deprived film addict and video game obsessive who spends more time than is healthy in darkened London screening rooms. Follow his twitter on @ShaunMunroFilm or e-mail him at shaneo632 [at] gmail.com.