Elevator Game is a new Shudder supernatural horror film that is simply a predictable and lackluster effort at giving a popular internet horror theory an unnecessary cinematic adaptation. If one is to go through internet forums that discuss supernatural phenomena, they are sure to come across the elevator game, in which, upon following a particular sequence of buttons to press, one can travel to a mysterious world haunted by an evil spirit. The film is exactly about this very phenomenon, with a story of a ghost-hunting group trying out the game for their online content. Bad screenplay, inadequate performances, and gimmicky jump scares make Elevator Game a pretty horrid experience that is best avoided.
Plot Summary: What is the Film About?
Like many other substandard horror films, Elevator Game first introduces us to a random woman whose identity is not known, but it is easy to guess that she is going to play quite a part in the plot despite her destiny. The woman gets into an elevator inside an empty office building and starts to record herself on her phone. She then goes on to press the buttons in the elevator in a particular sequence, making it stop at a number of floors until something strange happens. Even though she presses the button to the first floor at the end of her game, the elevator shoots up to the tenth floor. As she had been recording herself throughout the procedure, clearly for someone else who was supposed to be with her at the time, the woman spots a creepy figure standing right behind her. Total horror follows as she hears the figure speak, turns back to look at the person, and shrieks in absolute horror. When the elevator normally comes back to the ground floor of the building, there is nobody inside.
We are then taken to the small office of a social media production company run by some teenagers right out of high school. The company, called “Nightmare on Dare Street,” shoots videos from haunted places and tries to experience the hauntings themselves before releasing the videos online. The group runs like any other publishing company, as their team manager, Kevin, harps on the need to show their sponsors’ products more clearly in the videos. Kris and Chloe work as the hosts in the videos, with the latter also working as the primary researcher, and the team also includes overall helper Matty and tech specialist Izzy. A new member is now also introduced by Kevin, as a young man named Ryan has agreed to help the team out without charging any money.
The team soon tries to come up with ideas for a new video, and Ryan suggests that they play the notorious elevator game. He also mentions that he knows of a particular building in which a young woman named Becki had mysteriously disappeared some years ago. Although unwilling at first, the Nightmare on Dare Street team is pressured by sponsors to come up with a new video quickly, and they finally decide to make the elevator game their next topic.
What is Ryan’s real identity?
The teenagers sneaked into the office building that weekend with all their gear to shoot their next episode. The day is carefully selected to avoid any office workers, and the place is totally empty to help their situation. Izzy sets up cameras inside the elevator to shoot the team members participating in the game, and like always, Kris, Chloe, and Matty are given the responsibility of doing so. Probably because it is his first time, Ryan stays back in the lobby with Kevin and Izzy, and he helps with other shots taken from outside the elevator. The three members inside the lift are constantly monitored by Izzy with the help of her tab, which is synced with the cameras inside, and there is nothing wrong or suspicious at all.
However, Chloe starts to get the feeling that her co-host, Kris, is much quieter than he usually is and is also in a sort of hurry to end the whole game. None of the three seem to believe that they will be met by the ghostly Fifth-Floor Woman, who apparently steps into the elevator on the fifth floor. The game says that if any of the participants see the woman or speak to her, then she vengefully rips them apart and kills them. But if the game can be played without any hitches, then the participants can reach the alternative world where the monstrous ghost lives, which is known as the Red World. The intensity inside the elevator now grows, and the three teenagers can noticeably feel each other’s nervousness. Surely enough, the elevator mysteriously starts to climb up to the tenth floor at the end of the game, which is supposed to happen anyway, but it then stops on the ninth floor. This is because a lone businessman had been inside his office, and he had called for the lift at the exact same time. It is because of this businessman that Chloe, Kris, and Matty are able to come back down to the ground floor.
But Izzy instantly reports something odd—that the cameras had gone totally offline during the last few steps of the game and that there was no footage at all. Ryan now suggests that they go play the game once again, but Kris is vocally against such a plan. It is now that a further secret is revealed, for Ryan is the brother of the missing woman, Becki, and it was Becki that we saw at the very beginning of Elevator Game. Only sometime before her death, Becki had contacted Kris on social media since she was a huge fan of the Nightmare on Dare Street channel. Kris had misused this situation and slept with Becki before telling her that if she played the elevator game and recorded a video of it, then she too could get famous like the team. Very quickly, though, Kris stopped replying to the woman’s messages, as he wanted to move on from her, and Becki felt that recording herself playing the game would once again grab Kris’ attention. However, since Becki had disappeared after this and her brother Ryan had now come and spoken about this, Kris wanted to avoid any further mention of the woman in order to avoid any trouble for himself.
What happens to the teenagers next?
After the team breaks and ousts Kris for what he has done, the man returns home but is instantly killed by a shadowy figure, which also slinks the body out of existence. The lights in the place turning red make it clear that it is the Fifth-Floor Woman who has killed Kris and has taken his body away into her Red World. Shortly after this, Ryan goes back to the building to find out more about where her sister disappeared. Maybe the man had thought until now that Kris had something to do with it, but now he is somehow convinced that he needs to play the game alone to understand the mystery. Unlike everyone else till now, Ryan manages to follow all the instructions completely, never seeing or talking to the ghost, and so when he reaches the tenth floor, there is a bright red glow at the place. Getting off the elevator, Ryan finds himself in the lobby of the building and then out on the street, but every light has been transformed to bright red, and there is even a red cross burning in the night sky. The man sees a woman in this completely empty world and thinks she is his lost sister. But as he approaches her, Ryan realizes that the woman is the same ghost who haunts the elevator, and she now chases him. The man somehow runs back into the building and frantically calls for the elevator.
At the same time, Izzy and Kevin return to the building with the elevator in order to retrieve one action camera that they had mistakenly left behind. Having found the device, Izzy then goes on to jokingly play the elevator game, and the pair now also make the same mistake of looking at the ghost. They are instantly ripped apart by the spirit, and their helpless and spine-chilling cries are recorded on the action camera. Unlike Beckie’s phone, though, this camera somehow stays back inside the elevator, and when it finally reaches Ryan in the alternate Red World, he finds the camera with the footage intact.
With three of the friends now dead, a similar situation sneaks up behind Chloe at her house as she inattentively reads away about the elevator game on the internet, but the woman is saved upon receiving a phone call from Ryan. Matty, who sits and waits at a local bus stop to catch a ride back home, is suddenly attacked by the ghostly woman, and he somehow manages to run away from the perpetrator. It is very clear, as the characters also later realize, that when the businessman called for the elevator on the ninth floor, their elevator game had been interrupted, and therefore, it was not completed like it should have been. This had kept the doorway to the human world open for the vengeful spirit, and she had now come into this world to hunt down and kill the remaining living participants.
The three assemble at their office, trying to find out some plan to stop the haunting and realize that playing the elevator game properly from beginning to end will close the doorway and make the spirit return to her realm. Since Ryan had gone to the Red World and then returned safely, too, this must be the way of escape for the other two as well. However, before they can go to the building, the Fifth-Floor Woman attacks them inside their own office and violently kills Matty, ripping her body apart. Ryan and Chloe manage to escape.
What is the story of the Fifth-Floor Woman?
Elevator Game also features the typical backstory of the ghost, as Chloe’s research into the whole matter links the hauntings to a tragedy a few decades ago. During a sorority pledge weekend, one of the girls was taken into the same office building, where her companions locked her up inside the elevator shaft as a cruel game. However, the girls then returned to the sorority house and completely forgot about the poor girl who was still stuck in the shaft. She remained inside the cold and cramped place the entire weekend and was still alive when the office workers came in on the following Monday. Since the elevators were used once again, the girl’s spine was first crushed by the weight of the elevator, and then her body was ripped apart by the cables of the lift. It was this girl, Allie McCormack, who had then become the ghostly Fifth-Floor Woman and was now ripping anybody apart whenever they saw her or spoke to her. The Red World is not explained to this extent, though, and it remains only as the empty, desolate world where the ghost seems keen on bringing more people.
What happens to Ryan and Chloe in the end?
After escaping from their office, Ryan and Chloe return to the building and hurriedly take the elevator. They once again play the elevator game, following every instruction completely, and are also successful in avoiding the Fifth-Floor Woman. The elevator finally takes them back up to the tenth floor, where the same red glow is back, meaning that the two have managed to open up the portal to the Red World. However, Ryan steps into the place and refuses to leave, as he sees a figure and believes her to be his sister, Becki. The man wants to stay back and reunite with his sister, but Chloe pulls him back into the elevator. She reminds him that he has to get over the grief of losing his sister, but this grief is honestly not felt to any degree throughout the rest of the film.
The pair then return to the elevator and press the button for the ground floor, having apparently successfully shut off the gate to the portal. However, Elevator Game now throws in an ultimate twist when the ghost still attacks the two and kills them. The most probable explanation for this is that there were actually two ghosts living inside the Red World at this time. The figure that Ryan and Chloe saw at the place must have been Becki, who had been transferred to the Red World when she had been killed by the ghost. But even though the portal to the world was closed, and Becki was inside, the Fifth-Floor Woman, who had been hunting down the friends for so long, must have still been out in the human world, and it is now she who kills Ryan and Chloe. This theory is further suggested when, in the ending scene of Elevator Game, we see Ryan return to the Red World, where he now sees Becki in her human form, probably because he has died and been turned into a ghost as well. But then it is also not clear as to why the other victims of the ghost had not been turned into further ghosts.
Elevator Game‘s ending also teases another woman getting into the elevator to play the deadly game, and it is the finger of the ghost that presses the buttons, perhaps suggesting that the doorway between the two worlds is still open. Maybe an even more horrible sequel is in the plans!