Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 14, 2020)
I’ll leave it to film historians to trace the evolution of the “haunted house” cinematic genre. I know it goes back at least as far as 1932, and it probably predates that period.
Like other horror tropes, “haunted house” movies seem unlikely to ever go anywhere. We get another example via 2019’s Girl on the Third Floor.
Along with his wife Liz (Trieste Kelly Dunn), Don Koch (Phil Brooks) purchases a dilapidated old Victorian house. While the home clearly requires massive rehab, Don convinces Liz he can handle the work himself.
As it happens, Don can’t handle the job, though not solely due to structural challenges. In addition, the building comes with supernatural concerns that threaten Don and his family.
Apparently Brooks enjoyed a successful WWE wrestling career under the moniker “CM Punk”. I don’t know about that, but he does look like the love child of Jon Hamm and Bruce Campbell, so that counts for something I guess.
Actually, Brooks kind of sounds like Campbell as well. Given the fact that Campbell’s main claim to fame comes from his own haunted house franchise, I find it hard to view this as a coincidence.
Not that I view Floor as a rip-off of Evil Dead. Sure, both share the basic “haunted house” conceit, but they follow their stories in different ways.
Mostly. Dead embraces manic insanity pretty early in its narrative, whereas Floor largely sticks with creepy atmosphere for its first two acts.
Sure, we find obvious hints that something weird exists in the house. In addition, Sarah Yates (Sarah Brooks) – the local hottie with whom Don enjoys a night of extramarital passion – gives off an odd vibe right from the start.
Still, the film manages to keep its supernatural tone subdued for the opening hour or so. Eventually it goes wilder and gorier, which opens us to Evil Dead connections, but Floor never enters “carbon copy” territory, and it offers some reflections of The Shining as well.
Maybe Floor would work better if it simply ripped off the Sam Raimi classic. As it stands, the movie never finds traction and tends to offer a slow, not especially exciting tale.
Much of this stems from its reluctance to decide what horror genre it wants to embrace. Does Floor prefer a spooky vibe or the wild gore of Raimi’s work?
Both – and neither, really, as the indecision makes Floor inconsistent and without much impact. There’s just not a lot of substance here, and the film can’t find a real groove.
I do appreciate the movie’s general refusal to embrace the cliché jump scares that pervade the genre. At times, Floor shows signs that it can bring some energy to a well-worn genre.
However, it never achieves these goals. Nothing hear ever devolves to the level of awfulness, but the end result feels passable at best.