The Loft

This is what Tiger Woods needed. Karl Urban, James Marsden, Eric Stonestreet and Rachael Taylor star in The Loft.

The LoftCast of Characters:
Vincent Stevens – Karl Urban
Chris Vanowen – James Marsden
Luke Seacord – Wentworth Miller
Marty Landry – Eric Stonestreet
Philip Trauner – Matthias Schoenaerts
Sarah Deakins – Isabel Lucas
Ann Morris – Rachael Taylor

Director – Erik Van Looy
Screenplay – Wesley Strick
Based on characters created by Bart De Pauw
Producer – Hilde De Laere, Matt Deross, Paul Green & Adam Shulman
Rated R for sexual content, nudity, bloody violence, language and some drug use

Five married men – Vincent Stevens (Karl Urban), Chris Vanowen (James Marsden), Luke Seacord (Wentworth Miller), Marty Landry (Eric Stonestreet) and Philip Trauner (Matthias Schoenaerts) – share ownership of an upmarket loft, a secret spot that they use discreetly to meet up with their lady friends on the side. But after Luke comes over one day and discovers the body of a murdered woman in bed, the men begin to suspect each other of having committed the crime since only they are the ones who have keys to the place.

Throughout history, civilizations and empires have perfected their own brand of torture and execution. The Greeks have the Brazen Bull, the Romans the crucifixion, the Middle Ages have the dreaded Iron Maiden, the French have the guillotine and Americans have the Kardashians.

Hollywood can add The Loft to their arsenal, a film so horrible that I was expecting a giant squid or some other crappy CGI aquatic monster to fly out of the water and start attacking people. As lifeless as this film is, that would’ve been an improvement.

Based on Erik Van Looy (who returns to direct this American version) and Bart De Pauw’s original Belgian thriller titled Loft from 2008, which was also redone as a Danish film in 2010, The Loft is a whodunit mystery that, as the late Gene Siskel would say, is as interesting as watching a documentary of these actors having lunch. I haven’t seen the original, but I can’t imagine it’d be any worse than this film.

You’ll get more thrills out of the wall. No, not the iconic Pink Floyd album, but just staring back at a wall.

Yes, a wall. Any wall. Take your pick. You’re bound to get more excitement out of that than this tediously paced bore.

Here’s the problem with this film, or I should say one of the many, many, many, many problems with this film. It’s downright impossible to be moved with suspense when you don’t care for a single one of these characters to begin with, and you just care less and less and even less, that is if it’s even possible to care any less, about them as the movie progresses. Not since Jersey Shore, have I ever wanted so bad to witness the demise of so many people. These five men are despicable creatures. I actually felt so bad to be a member of the male species that I felt compelled to shower the filth I gained from watching these lecherous morons. But then that guilt washed completely away the moment the women in these men’s lives popped up, ’cause then it became abundantly clear why they’re two-timing their gals. I would too if mine was as much a shrewd and shrill bitch as the women are here.

When the purest character in the entire film is the slut, that’s not a good thing. Of course, that makes sense anyway, ’cause she’s just giving quality customer service.

It’s not that trashy films can’t be good. Basic Instinct was entertaining, and a more recent film, The Paperboy, was also trashy fun. But this film becomes more and more depressingly dull with each passing frame. Much like last year’s Valium pill of a thriller Before I Go to Sleep, the style is unpleasantly bland, a surprising step back for cinematographer Nicolas Karakatsanis who’s done fine work on Bullhead and last year’s The Drop.

Van Looy and writer Wesley Strick are attempting to channel Hitchcock, but their narrative, which bounces back and forth between present day police interrogations and flashbacks explaining who may or may not have murdered the woman, lacks any intrigue, and by the end of it all, you’re actually left with more questions than you started with. You definitely won’t see the twists coming, but that’s ’cause as preposterous and nonsensical as they are, not even Sherlock and Dr. Watson can figure them out. Also, the characters are a paper mill’s worth of woodenness. We don’t learn a thing about any one of the five suspects, and most importantly we don’t learn anything about who this murdered woman – you know, the central aspect of the story – is. So why bother caring about who murdered her, despite that about halfway through the film I started to envy her.

‘Cause she’s dead.

The cast consists of capable performers that have done fine work before this, but here show with effortless ease that you will find more character depth in even the tackiest porno. Karl Urban has proven himself to be a nice fit as Dr. “Bones” McCoy in the revamped Star Trek franchise, but gets to nothing to work with as the smarmy architect of the group. With this film thrown in with The Best of Me and Walk of Shame, it’s safe to say James Marsden’s best performance in recent years was his three second cameo in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Wentworth Miller is so stiff as a board, the caterers must’ve spiked his drink with formaldehyde and a miscast Eric Stonestreet, who seems so eager to participate in a film that’s a clear departure from Modern Family, annoyingly overplays his horndog character.

Although they’re not involved in the film as much as the men, the women fare just as poorly. Rhona Mitra sulks and acts depressed all the time for reasons that are never explained. Maybe her character was actually supposed to be as chipper as Tigger on coke, and this performance is her realization that she’s in a pile of crap this bad. It doesn’t take a genius to know the stunningly gorgeous Rachael Taylor has a face that could launch a thousand ships, but those ships would all intentionally sink themselves with their own cannonballs, sending every suicidal passenger to their deep, fathomless watery graves, the moment they heard the atrocious dialogue she has to speak trickle out of her mouth like the pea soup projectile vomit that fire hydrant-ed its way out of little Regan’s mouth.

At the very least you could turn this into a drinking game. Take a drink every time…

  • Karl Urban says “the loft”.
  • One of the five guys calls any one of the other a “sick fuck”.
  • Wentworth Miller longingly stares at Urban.
  • Matthias Schoenaerts’s Belgian accent slips its way in when he has an outburst.
  • Karl Urban’s New Zealand accent slips its way in when he has an outburst.
  • Rachael Taylor reminds someone, James Marsden mostly, that she’s a prostitute, describing herself more vividly with each incessantly pointless, “We get the fucking point!!!!” description.

Be sure to bring a designated driver with you. You’ll need it.

Poorly paced, poorly written and starring talented actors that look embarrassed and guilty for having accepted money to be in this, The Loft is meant to be a whodunit but somehow ends up being a whogivesashit as it plods its way from start to finish. Not a single one of these characters have even the tiniest redeemable aspect about them, but I guess that puts them in good company with this film which also has not a single redeemable aspect about it. Much like these five men, I too will consider purchasing a hidden loft of my own, so I can bury unfathomable secrets deep inside it, like the fact that I watched this film so you don’t have to.

I give The Loft an F (0 stars).

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