Valentine's Day Thriller
Next to musicals, I love thriller movies. That probably explains why Alfred Hitchcock ranks as my favorite director. And among my list of favorite current filmmakers is Daniel Stamm. His The Last Exorcism actually made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end -- and I loved it! So I had high expectations for Down, Stamm’s Valentine’s Day thriller. Fortunately, I was not disappointed. It's such a simple plot masterfully directed and acted.
Because the co-stars appear in every scene and go through so many emotions and physical activities, it was important to cast two talented actors. Natalie Martinez (Death Race) and Matt Lauria (Miss Bala) fit that bill in every way. And because the story plays out in an elevator, every bit of dialogue needs to be interesting. Also, of course, the film must ooze suspense. Check both of those boxes for Down.
As usual lately, I couldn’t resist waxing poetic. So here’s my film poem about this exciting thriller.
Elevators go up and down.
They’re not meant to make people frown
or to scare us on Valentine’s Day.
DOWN the film does that anyway.
A man and woman stuck in one
soon try their best to have some fun.
Strangers sharing a closed-in spot
end up behaving bad a lot.
Watching DOWN, if you have the nerve,
much worse than bad you will observe.
Beyond scary, this movie boasts
more frights than demons and old ghosts.
Scenes of suspense and of surprise
sometimes caused me to close my eyes.
As thrillers go, Down passed my test,
which means it interfered with rest.
Despite Down’s sexy interactions between the main characters, the title of this film could have been “How Not To Spend Valentine’s Day.” It starts out like a rom-com: meeting cute, drinking wine together, getting to know each other, making love, and then -- SURPRISE -- the atmosphere changes drastically. I can’t say anything more without spoiling the movie for you. Just be prepared. This is not a date film! But if you love thrillers, don’t miss it.
If you want to laugh, see a comedy. If you want to cry, see a drama. If you want suspense, see a thriller. --- Charlie Murphy
(Streaming on Hulu as part of Blumhouse’s INTO THE DARK anthology series.)
For more information about filmmaker Daniel Stamm, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.