Review by Cole Groth
Poorly shot, weakly acted, and backed with a bad script, Elevator Game goes against the formula of interesting horror movies from Shudder. It’s clear that there was no budget backing this, and while sometimes it’s commendable to watch a movie made for little money, this one is a particularly pathetic piece of filmmaking that’s surprisingly mean and bothersome to watch.
Elevator Game tells the story of a group of obnoxious friends (although two heroes are identified early on so we know who to root for) who participate in a deadly ritual in an elevator, bringing chaos to their lives and ultimately ending many of them. It’s built on the basis of those scary stories friends tell each other, like Bloody Mary, with the titular game being popularized in South Korea. As the friends get killed off one by one, they must band together to outsmart the otherworldly demon lurking in the elevator.
This story sucks. It’s derivative and immediately predictable, but only takes risks to end the film on an awful note. Sorry to disappoint, but this film's ending will leave you entirely unsatisfied as nothing gets resolved. The group of friends includes Becki (Megan Best), Ryan (Gino Anania), Madison (Izzy Simpson), Chloe (Verity Marks), Matty (Nazariy Demkowicz), and Kris (Alec Carlos). It almost feels mean to mention them here because, unfortunately, they’re all terrible. It seems like the script gave them no room to be good, though, so maybe with a better project, they’ll stand out as more interesting.
Film is a visual medium. There’s nothing worse than watching a painfully ugly movie, and out of all the ugly movies one could watch, this is one of the ugliest. The cinematography is bland and uninspired, but to top that off, a weird filter covers the whole screen and leaves it looking like an oversaturated, unfocused mess. The only exciting thing is the monster, as even the kills are poorly done and shot awfully.
If the actors didn’t quite deserve to be called out, director Rebekah McKendry and the writing pair of David Ian McKendry (the two are a married couple) and Travis Seppala deserve to be named. The screenplay here is abysmal, even for a low-budget horror movie. None of the characters act like teenagers, with this instead coming across as a caricature of young people written by somebody who hasn’t spoken to a teenager in years. As mentioned before, the dialogue is hilariously stupid, and the story is terrible.
If you want paranormal horror that’s done better, watch anything else. Hell, any awful Paranormal Activity sequels are leagues better than this. Those are visually much more interesting, somehow. Shudder churns out so many low-budget horror movies that it’s surprising more of their original movies aren't like this. However, their catalog is mostly original and exciting, fueled by a love for horror movies. This is a movie driven by incompetence. This is easily one of the worst movies made this year, and hopefully, it’ll be quickly forgotten after its release.
Elevator Game releases on Shudder on September 15.