Monday, 8 June 2015

The Loft (2014)

Readers of a certain age will remember the erotic thriller boom of the early 1990s, when the huge financial success of Paul Verhoeven’s BASIC INSTINCT (1992) meant that exploitation movie producers who couldn’t afford gore and makeup effects for horror films could enter the low rent arena by an even cheaper route. All that was needed was a few glossy apartment sets, some topless scenes, a knife and a bit of blood, all of which would be emphasised to often ludicrous levels on the VHS box cover. You may have thought these low rent late night Channel 5 epics had gone the way of the oversexed dinosaur, but while you’re still digesting that image, here we have THE LOFT.

Latin written in blood? How can this film possibly go wrong?

British viewers are, of course, going to assume that this is a movie about an attic where saucy things take place, or where perhaps someone keeps their stash of naughty books. But oh no, THE LOFT is a low budget English language remake of a Belgian original. Come back! Where are you going? You haven’t even heard what it’s about yet.

Our leads. Well, four of them.

Five rich, successful, and intensely dislikable married men rent a posh penthouse apartment (the loft of the title) so they have somewhere cheap and convenient to take their bits on the side. This is kind of where the erotic bit comes in, although I have to say during all the soft focus groping all that was going through my mind was who does the laundry in this place? Is there a bed making rota? How do they avoid being there on the same night as someone else? Is there a rota for that? Is someone always stuck with Mondays? And what would one of them do if they walked in one day to find a naked dead girl handcuffed to the bed which happens to be soaked in blood?

Presumably we're somewhere warm
That’s how THE LOFT begins, by the way. We then learn the backstory in flashbacks, flashbacks within flashbacks, and a series of twists and turns so convoluted THE LOFT could actually have been a lot of fun if all the lead cardboard cutout characters weren’t so unremittingly hateful. I can’t remember any of their names, but the script probably just labelled them as the Violent One, the Fat Stupid One, the Brother of the Violent One, the Quiet One Who Must Have Dodgy Sexual Preferences and, of course the One Who Thought Up Getting The Loft in the First Place. He’s played by Karl Urban, who’s about the only familiar face in this.

Think carefully before you agree to be in a remake of a Belgian crime thriller
By now hopefully you know if you fancy giving THE LOFT a go. It’s a slick, glossy, utterly passionless thriller where the (minimal) erotica isn’t sexy and the characters so vapid that you don’t care about any come-uppance they might get. Signature’s DVD is bare bones, with no extras. I’ve not seen the Belgian original but I hope for the director’s sake it’s better than this. 

THE LOFT is being released on Region 2 DVD by Signature Entertainment on 15th June 2015

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