The Loft, 2015.
Directed by Erik Van Looy.
Starring Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller, Eric Stonestreet, Valerie Cruz, Isabel Lucas, Elaine Cassidy, Matthias Schoenaerts and Rachael Taylor.
A group of married men rent a city penthouse to indulge in extra marital affairs but it all goes disastrously wrong when a dead body is discovered.
The Loft is an English language remake of Loft, a 2008 thriller from Belgium directed by Erik Van Looy, who also directs this version. The story concerns five married men – Vincent (Karl Urban – Dredd), Chris (James Marsden – Straw Dogs), Marty (Eric Stonestreet – Modern Family), Luke (Wentworth Miller – The Flash) and Chris’ half-brother Phil (Matthias Schoenaerts – The Drop) – who all have the use of the titular loft, a city centre apartment designed and built by architect Vincent. Each man has a key to the loft and is able to use the apartment to carry out any extra marital activities they care to take part in, the rules being that they text the other guys when the loft is in use and they are to tell nobody else outside of their circle. However, Luke goes to the loft one morning and discovers the bloody corpse of a beautiful young woman handcuffed to the bed so he notifies the others, who all arrive at the apartment and begin to piece together the mystery of who she is and how she got there, because if there are only five keys to the place then somebody in the close-knit group must know something…
And from then on in The Loft begins to unravel as the plot has more convoluted twists and turns than the entire Saw series. That’s not to say it’s bad though, because The Loft is enjoyable if you don’t take too much notice of the lazy dialogue, but it’s a little frustrating that it could have been a tighter, slicker example of a murder mystery than what it actually ended up being.
Most of the film’s problems come from the aforementioned dialogue, which likes to repeat the words “the loft” more times than is actually necessary in a natural conversation, and from not really knowing when enough is enough when it comes to twists. As the film reaches its climax and the revelation as to who the victim is and how she got there is being told, there is a genuine sense of relief – like all good mysteries should provide – that all of the plot strands that we have been shown and told about have come together in a way that, if not totally satisfactory, at least tie things up. But then the film carries on going, another detail is dropped into conversation and we’re off again as The Loft has more to offer, albeit one plot twist too many.
It’s a shame that The Loft doesn’t have a little bit more restraint when it comes to its story as it is quite a good-looking film and some of Van Looy’s visual cues to try and give each member of the group a little tick or quirk help keep up the mystery element. The cast are also pretty good, with Karl Urban and James Marsden giving solid performances, but the secondary characters are so thinly and similarly written that they are nearly interchangeable with each other. The only real characters that stick out with any sort of personality are Marty and his wife Mimi (Kali Rocha – Meet the Parents) as we get to see a bit of their relationship play out due to circumstances away from the loft, and although they might not be particularly likeable they are at least believable. Which is what the plot could have been if somebody had reigned it in a bit but unfortunately the film loses momentum by going on for too long when it should have ended at least 10 minutes before it actually does and in a less messy way. Enjoyable enough but not nearly as intelligent as it thinks it is.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★/ Movie: ★ ★ ★