Monday, March 5, 2012
Small Scream Mystery: Nightmare at The 13th Floor (1991)
starring: Michele Greene, John Karlen and Louise Fletcher
A late entry and with many restraints thanks to its the made-for-TV broadcast, Nightmare At The 13th Floor tried its best to catch up with the tired genre and provide enough thrills and chills that not even TV censors can stop. If the producers had been creative, this film would have achived that but with tame killings and a very clumsy direction at the end, the floors of this movie could only go up or down from where I'm standing.
Much like an unintentional predecessor to Tobe Hooper's welcomed Toolbox Murders remake, a journalist stays at the Wessex Hotel to review it for her paper's column. But after getting stuck somewhere between the 12th floor in an elevator, she finds a man being murdered before hitting her head on the malfunctioning machine. When she came through and tell everyone what she saw, they all scoffed and laughed at her tale of macabre killings as they dismissed it as just her being woozy from the trauma. Not satisfied with the reaction she is getting, she ventures into an investigation herself and what soon follows is a scenario involving hidden rooms, axe murders and Satanic rituals.
If anything from the above paragraph would get through someone's head then you'll probably know how the murders and the rituals are connected. By far, the only mystery left to solve here was that who were committing the murders, a game that's played somewhere in near conclusion after going around the typical mystery fare that might have been enjoyable if it dabbled more blood and a set-refined direction.
The acting boasts a fine cast; James Brolin, Louise Fletcher, John Karlen and a young Michele Greene adds up to the exceptional faces, yet failed to do much justice when it comes to bringing more dimensions into their characters. Greene's role as the lead heroine for one had wit, yet it's really hard to come by and like her all the way since she's missing a lot of spark. The film's realism were also ruined by the supernatural takes, a clumsy out-of-nowhere explanation that doesn't really make the film any better.
Still, as a subtle TV feature, it's as interesting as it is by the first half thanks to to some decent pacing and it somehow capturing the dark feel of the murders as the axe maniac kills anyone thrown to him for the reason of immortality alone is mean-spirited enough, even if it's obscure. Not the best TV slasher by any note but I've seen worse. Wouldn't say that everyone should see it, but it's worth a gander.
1 male killed with axe (mostly offscreen)
1 elderly female killed with axe offscreen
1 male killed with axe offscreen
1 female hacked with axe
1 female hacked with axe
1 male falls unto elevator shaft
1 male shot on the head
1 female shot