A military team return home after a mission to gather intel. But as they climb a set of stairs, they discover that they seem never ending and that something is following them…
It’s funny how things work out. I thought this film sounded intriguing but I wasn’t sure about it. In truth, if it hadn’t been for my own mistake regarding film timings, I may not even have gone to see it.
But I’m glad I did.
The film is written and directed by Tom Paton. The idea of repeating something over and over to get it right is something done in Groundhog Day or more recently, Happy Death Day, but the twist here is that if they die, they won’t come back. Here, dead is dead.
As a result, there’s an interesting subplot, that of the soldiers coming to terms with what they’ve done and how to either fix what they did, or face the consequences. What follows, is how each of the soldiers deal with what is happening, how they can escape both it and what is following them.
The cast are pretty good. While the characters do come over as the stereotypical type you get among soldiers in a film like this, the actors, including Shayne Ward, Bentley Kalu, Toby Osmond, Samantha Schnitzier, Alana Wallace and Phoebe Robinson-Galvin bring them to life very well.
Paton’s direction is good too. The action scenes in the film are well done, considering the film was made on a lower budget. While the film spends a lot of time on the stairs they have to climb, Paton tries not to keep repeating the same angles as they climb.
There are some flaws. I don’t think the film needed the supernatural and horror aspects, the demon or whatever that follows them. I think the film would have worked just as well without it. I also think, despite the cast and direction being good, it is slightly too long.
But that said, I was quite taken by Stairs. It takes a premise of sorts we’ve seen before and tries to something a little different with it.
It might not work as a horror film, not scary enough for that, I do think it works better as a thoughtful drama, with bursts of action.
Stairs (or The Ascent as it may be getting a title change) is a film that might get lost among bigger or more well known titles, but it is certainly worth a watch.
Rating: *** out of 5