Movie Review: The Girl on the Third Floor
This haunted house refuses to be renovated.
Throughout the years, there have been countless haunted house movies. You have your found-footage stories (Paranormal Activity), others in which evil spirits invade an occupant’s soul (The Amityville Horror), and, finally, you have The Girl on the Third Floor, which basically refuses to be renovated and lashes out at anyone who attempts to do so.
Filmmaker Travis Stevens enlists an unfamiliar cast to star in his film. Protagonist Don Koch, played by Phil Brooks (also known as C.M. Punk), is a married man with a baby on the way. The couple purchases a rundown home in hopes of renovating it into their dream home. Of course, it’s not long before the man is second-guessing the decision when he sees the extent of the damages in the old Victorian home.
Clearly not a handyman, he stumbles around the house attempting to make repairs and the problems are a bit unorthodox. There are strange holes in the wall, gel-like substances oozing out of the electrical outlets, and marbles rolling around the floors and down the stairs, which Cooper the dog swallows. Shortly after moving in, a neighbor drops by and reveals that the old home once was a brothel where a woman’s body had gone missing.
During the first night there, Don is video chatting with his pregnant wife and reassures her that he will be able to handle the repairs to get the house ready. As soon as the call is over, he opens a porn app on his phone and takes care of business. Stevens doesn’t do a great job of making our leading man much of a favorite, but maybe that was the angle he was going for. When Don is approached by a sexy young woman, Sarah (Sarah Brooks), he quickly forgets his wedding vows and spends the night with her. This leads her to show up at all kinds of hours for more affairs.
When his friend Milo arrives to help with the repairs, he discovers that Don has cheated on Liz. When confronted over his actions, Don simply replies, “I earned that.” He’s your stereotypical misogynist. We learn that his crimes have made him move to the suburbs, but his narcissistic attitude doesn’t make him a likeable character in the film. In fact, you are at times rooting for the supernatural Nymph (Tonya Kay) to attack him.
There are not many great effects in this movie, from the makeup on the Nymph to blood and spewing gel from ceilings, walls, and outlets. Overall, it is lacking in anything spectacular. When Don’s wife finally arrives unannounced, she has no idea that her husband has already been taken care of by Sarah and the Nymph, who uses marbles to pierce his skin and travel through his body. The only real gruesome and bloody scene is when Don frantically uses a blade to try to cut the marble out of his body, but just ends up slashing his arms recklessly.
When Liz realizes something is just not right with the house and comes face-to-face with Sarah, she finds herself locked in a bedroom. Don's bloodied, cut-up body then comes crawling out of a closet to a screaming Liz. He turns the blade on his head and slices down his face, peeling the skin back to reveal it is really Sarah wearing his skin.
Liz flees the house, confronting the neighbor and learning that Ellie knew of the gruesome history of the house and what it was capable of doing all along. After a brief talk, the story jumps ahead to six months later when Liz has had her baby daughter. Still in the house, she leaves the room for the baby to take a nap and little green balls come flying from the ceiling register, landing in the crib. As the camera pans upwards to the ceiling, you hear Don’s voice and his face peers from the grate for a final jump scare.
The movie is quick-paced and doesn’t wait long to get to the jump scares and strange things happening in the house. It’s slightly different than your typical haunting or possession story. Time wise, it’s an appropriate length to tell the story. Sadly, it is more of a movie to watch on a lazy weekend afternoon when you can’t decide on anything else.
A lack of good special effects and likeable characters are the main knocks on this film. It would have been nice to see more of the Nymph, who, thanks to her body language, provided a gruesome, fascinating character that really didn’t have enough backstory or time spent on her. As for Don, you can’t feel sorry for him at all, or even Liz, who remained in the house knowing what it did to her husband and friend (not to mention the past associated with it). The subpar acting and script make it cringe-worthy at times, but sometimes you just can’t turn away, much like a bad accident.
The Girl on the Third Floor is currently streaming on Netflix.
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