Lift Review - Quickly rises to the top before coming down in its final act!
Vineeth Varaprasad’s Lift is a horror film about an IT employee, who gets trapped inside his office premises on a fateful night. As simple and typical as this one liner sounds for a horror film, this actually becomes a fascinating idea over here. The horror of getting trapped also works as a metaphor. The film probably wants to convey that the real horror today is how a whole lot of the population is trapped within the corporate work culture. I use the term probably because this doesn’t come through effectively in the film. But more about that later.
Guru (Kavin) stays back in office to complete an assignment on the first day of his new job. He begins to experience a paranormal presence and finds himself trapped with no exit in sight. You see the trailer of Lift and you pretty much exactly know what you are signing up for. What really matters in these kinds of films is whether you end up being spooked or not. And to be fair, Lift does a good job in this aspect, at least for a while. There are few reasons why Lift scares you successfully. The technical team has done a neat job and the jump scares aren’t overused. There is always this anticipation that something or someone might pop up but such instances are kept minimal. But the main reason the film works (till a point) is because the situation in which the protagonist finds himself feels plausible. It is not one of those horror films where a family purposefully chooses a haunted house in the middle of the forest and then each member turns to play with the ghost. An IT employee is bound to have worked late night in office and some of them have these huge infrastructures. During the film’s opening credits, there are these aerial shots of the IT corridor in OMR Chennai that gives you a glimpse of these buildings. And if you have had the experience of staying back in these premises, you would know it could be unnerving if you end up finding yourself without company. This plausibility is what really ticks in Lift.
Now back to the metaphor I was speaking about earlier. The film would have done really well to leave hints and have the viewer to draw parallels. It really is a smart idea to use the horror template to talk about the horrors of corporate life. But the last leg of the film is a complete let-down. The message is on your face and characters become caricatures. The bad guy is supposed to be a scheming corporate boss but he behaves like the bad guy from an over-the-top masala movie. This works against the film in two ways. Firstly, the flashback fails to create an emotional impact. Secondly, this dilutes the message the film wants to convey. The film wants to showcase the unjust nature of the corporate world but it creates a one-note villain and makes a caricature out of him. Now, you aren’t even thinking about the unfair nature of the corporate world but it all comes down to just this bad guy.
Lift quickly rises to the top floor and provides some solid horror moments. But it also comes crashing down in its final act. But this should have been a lot of fun in a theatre. Imagine you and your gang of IT buddies heading straight from your office to the nearest multiplex for a night show of Lift. ‘From one horror show to another’ is how writer and director Vineeth Varaprasad would have summed it up for you!