I don’t think these guys are getting their deposit back.
Five friends secretly purchase a loft where they can indulge in all their wild sexual desires, away from the prying eyes of their pesky old wives. It’s all fun and games until the dead body of a young woman is discovered in the loft. No one seems to know who she is or how she got there, but it looks an awful lot like the killer is one of their own.
The Loft isn’t a bad movie, but it isn’t a good one either; frankly, it’s just forgettable. It shouldn’t be though, with an ensemble cast of actors like, Karl Urban (Star Trek), James Marsden (X-Men), Wentworth Miller (Prison Break), Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family), and Matthias Schoenaerts. The fault with this film lies squarely on the shoulders of Bart De Pauw and Wesley Strick, whose screenplay is convoluted, and contains characters that are woodened, clichéd and flat.
The Loft is a remake of a 2008 Belgium film simply titled Loft. Directed by Erik Van Looy, who along with Bart De Pauw were director and writer, respectively, of the original film —maybe something got lost in translation.
The basic plot is this: Vincent (Urban) is the alpha male of this pack of perverted predators (I like to call them The PPP), a manipulative man who convinces his friends they need to get in on this loft idea. Chris (Marsden), initially wants no part of it, until he meets the irresistible Anne Morris (Rachael Taylor, Transformers), then he thinks it’s a great idea. Luke (Miller), is really the weirdo of the bunch, and that’s saying something considering this group. He’s shy and bespectacled, but underneath is a dark creepy abyss. Marty (Stonestreet), is the clichéd heavy friend, who overcompensates because he’s not as magazine friendly as his four other buddies. Marty is a foul-mouthed drunkard, whose loose lips might ruin it for them all. Then there’s Phillip (Schoenaerts), the hot tempered half-brother of Chris, who has a history of abusing women. When Luke discovers the body in a loft, where only the five of them have keys, the finger pointing quickly follows.
The setup of The Loft is pretty good, but then the story gets lost in flashbacks, and cardboard characters that lack believability. There is not an ounce of bro-chemistry between the five friends, which makes it hard to believe they would go out on a very shaky limb for each other. Urban is a caricature of the rogue; Marsden is the most likeable of the crew, but we never get a sense of who Chris really is. Luke (Miller) is a bland and demented retread of the introverted friend from those old ‘80s flicks, the one who lives in the shadows of his more popular cohorts. The most disappointing for me was Eric Stonestreet. I was looking forward to seeing him as something other than the affable Cam from Modern Family. He is a fine actor, but Marty’s loud and crude demeanor feels forced, as if they wrote the script first, then decided to add in the dialogue for Marty after the fact. Finally there’s Schoenaerts, who played the same character in the original Belgium film. Here he portrays Philip the yeller; and that’s pretty much all Phillip does —oh in between the fighting, the booze, and the drugs of course. There is a side story involving Chris and Philip, who were raised with different fathers after their mother’s death. Chris’ life was easy-breezy, while Phillip’s was filled with abuse and neglect. That would’ve been an interesting aspect to explore further, and far better than the actual direction The Loft takes.
As stereotypical as the guys are, the women in The Loft are even more marginalized. Among the wives we have the loudmouth, the shrew, the cold fish, and the needy and sickly wife. The only female character with even the slightest bit of depth is Anne Morris (Taylor), but even she is a cliché as the eye candy on the arm of your run of the mill slimy politician. So, there you go.
The Loft (Blu-ray) is a 2.40:1 (1080p) presentation, the filming style is slick, with wonderful visuals. Looy did a fantastic job with the setting and the lighting, I just wish the rest of the movie was as good. The 5.1 DTS MA Audio, is crisp and clear, the dialogue easy to hear. As if understanding the weakness of the film, the only special features available are the DVD and Ultraviolet Digital HD copies.
Mediocre films like The Loft are often some of the hardest to review. Why, you ask? Because it’s difficult to work up any kind of passion for or against it. The strongest feelings this film produced in me was the desire for it to end, so I could go to bed –in a house, not a loft.
I give The Loft two meh’s.
The Loft (Blu-ray) 2013, Universal, 103 minutes, R (2015)
VIDEO: 2.40:1, 1080p AUDIO: DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
SUBTITLES: English SDH, French, Spanish EXTRAS: Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy ACCOMPLICES: IMDB