One of writer/director Dick Maas’ earliest films is The Lift (1983) which he later remade for American audiences as The Shaft (2001). The Shaft was not a great experience for the director and he soon went back to The Netherlands where he continues to make films. The Lift is about an elevator technician by the name of Felix Adelaar (Huub Stapel) whose latest job involves a building in which people keep having near death experiences involving a state of the art lift. Every time he visits the building to do maintenance he finds nothing wrong but things soon turn serious when bodies start popping up. In order to get down to the bottom of the problem Felix teams up with a reporter to investigate the computer plant that created the software that controls the lift. Soon they realize that the microchips installed in the lift have malfunctioned and have a mind of its own creating an artificial intelligence. Now Felix must find a way to stop the lift before it has the chance to kill someone else.
Maas created in the ‘80s a film that cautions the advancement in technology with microchips that are so small they can control anything in our lives even gaining a mind of their own. By the time the remake came out the idea was passé but that doesn’t dismiss the effect of the original film. There was a lot of style in this early film of his that you can see in his later films. A lot of the violence is off-screen but Maas builds the suspense like an expert crafting an elegant little film that impressed when originally released. Now that three decades have past (and I finally got to see the film after a very long and hard search) I’ve realized that there are a lot of impressive ideas in the film that elevate it over many of the other horror films of the ‘80s most of all the fact that it is laid out like a mystery. This film is very much like his other impressive film Amsterdamned (1988).
A film about a killer lift is story straight out of a Stephen King novel but Maas has crafted a film that’s actually worth a look. If you can manage to find the film I suggest you take a look at it.