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Down (2001) - Blu-ray Review

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Down (2001) - Blu-ray

4 beersCheeseburger!  Cheeseboiger!  Cheeseboiger! Everybody knows that machines don't get hungry.  They also can't reproduce or think for themselves.  Or can they?

Beginning peacefully on the topmost level of the Millennium building in New York City, Down goes all full-tilt voyeur as two workers get an eyeful of T&A while spying on some lucky dude’s party.  It is a stormy night and, soon, an elevator “kicks” one of these peeping toms as it tries to close its doors all too soon.   It gives him ample time to pause before continuing on his duty.

And another lightning bolt strikes the famous landmark. 

For a remake (an update of a 1983 Dutch film called De Lift), Down – released here in the United States on DVD as The Shaft – is pretty damn ominous.  Of course, writer/director Dick Maas is remaking his own movie so – thanks to an increase in budget – gets to improve upon what he did originally.  And, with more brutal kills and more slice and dice moments courtesy of elevator doors and such, Down absolutely delivers one hell of a terrifying (and gory) experience. 

The horror movie - starring James Marshall and Naomi Watts – was mainly filmed in the Netherlands many months before 9/11, but predicts – as it focuses on the life of an elevator repairman – a terrorist attack by flying airplanes into buildings.  Spooky stuff.  Creepier still is the cast – which includes some great performances from Ron Perlman, Michael Ironside, Edward Merrmann, Dan Hedaya, and Eric Thal.  And, together, they create a mood and mystery as a series of deaths are traced back to the evil of an elevator that refuses to do as its told.  No button is going to keep this beast in check.

Every year.  Every single year, I swear there are multiple reports of someone either getting trapped in an elevator or something causing an elevator to go haywire.  Sometimes these incidents result in fatalities.  Having been trapped in an elevator with some people I’d rather not be that close to for any amount of extended time, I know all too much about the fear that races through the nervous system when those rising and plunging death cabins go nuts. 

Now, to be fair, I was only in a five-story building and I probably should have used the stairs.  That’s on me.  But what if I had been in a New York City building?  What if that building had 102 floors and 73 elevators?  And what if the elevator was, in fact, trying to kill all those who crossed its threshold.  That, my dear fiends, is the territory of writer/director Dick Maas’ Down, a horror film that actually works to create a solid layer of fear and frustration as two elevator repairmen find themselves in over their heads as they go up against a hellish and supremely mechanical beast.

Elevators like to kill people.  The movie actually states this.  But how the movie arrives at this conclusion – with great character actors and some gnarly kill scenes leading the way –is part of the appeal of this smartly written, well-constructed tale of mechanical failure.  Down is now available on blu-ray from Blue Underground thanks to a brand-new widescreen 2k restoration from the original camera negative, approved by the maestro, Dick Maas, himself. 

Going down?

Down (2001) - Blu-ray

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
111 mins
Director
: Dick Maas
Writer:
Dick Maas
Cast:
James Marshall, Naomi Watts, Eric Thal
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
Your Next Stop... is Hell.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I'll pee on them."
Theatrical Distributor:
No U.S. theatrical release.
Official Site:
Release Date:

DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
October 31, 2017
Synopsis: When the express elevators in New York City's 102-story Millennium Building start to malfunction, elevator mechanics Mark (James Marshall of TWIN PEAKS) and Jeff (Eric Thal of THE PUPPET MASTERS) are sent to find the cause. After a series of gruesome and deadly "accidents" occur, Mark joins forces with spunky reporter Jennifer (Naomi Watts of THE RING), who's on the hunt for a juicy story. As the death toll rises and the building is sealed off amid claims of terrorism, Mark and Jennifer attempt to unravel the horrifying secret behind the mysterious behavior of the bloodthirsty lift before it takes them - and the entire city - DOWN!

Down (2001) - Blu-ray

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Blue Underground
Available on Blu-ray
- October 31, 2017
Screen Formats: 2.4:1
Subtitles
: English SDH; Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: Dolby Digital 2.0; French: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set; DVD copy
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

Blue Underground presents Down with a robust 2K restoration presented here in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio.  It looks gloriously fresh in 1080p and buzzes with a new sense of urgency as the crisp visuals are punctuated in a way I previously had not noticed.  This building is rich with details and bold black levels.  Interiors, especially in the elevators themselves, are solid and expressive.  Black levels are strong throughout, revealing layers in the shadows as the building from top to bottom is presented with warmth and clarity..  With an English DTS-HD Master Audio Surround 5.1 as its source for sonics, the film simply doesn’t disappoint.  A DVD copy is also provided for fans.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  •  The best supplemental item on this release is the new audio commentary by writer/director Dick Maas and Stunt Coordinator Willem de Beukelaer.  They are both engaged and quite responsive as they describe the making of the movie and its growing fans.

Special Features:

This exclusive limited Collector's Edition of Down includes the restored Blu-ray, a DVD copy, a bonus collectable booklet, and a reversible sleeve.  Down is a Horror Hound’s best dream come true.  First, there’s a look at the making of the movie and  two and a half hours of behind the scenes footage.  We get a collection of trailers and a still gallery to round out the collection. 

  • The Making of Down
  • Behind-the-Scenes Footage
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Teaser Trailers
  • Poster & Still Gallery

 

Down (2001) - Blu-ray

 

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