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The Shaft (2001)

James Marshall , Eric Thal , Dick Maas  |  R |  DVD
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: James Marshall, Eric Thal, Edward Herrmann, Ron Perlman, Kathryn Meisle
  • Directors: Dick Maas
  • Writers: Dick Maas
  • Producers: Dick Maas, Laurens Geels, Heinz Thym
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Artisan Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 20, 2003
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008RUYS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,675 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Shaft" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

When the express elevator in the 102-story Millennium Building begins to malfunction, the management sends in a mechanic to solve the problem, but not everyone is happy about it - especially the elevator. After several of New York's finest are killed, the government, fearing terrorism, seals off the building. Now it is up to the mechanic and a reporter (Naomi Watts) to face an enemy whose bloodthirst is only met by its enemy that is determined to fight off any intruder looking for the dark secret that lurks in the belly of THE SHAFT.

Naomi Watts had not yet been put through the paces with David Lynch or The Ring when she made this 2001 thriller about an elevator with a malevolent spirit. It's essentially an English-language revamp, by the Dutch director Dick Maas, of his very fun 1983 movie The Lift. Set in pre-9/11 New York, in a fictional 102-floor high-rise, it's yet another lesson in why man should never tamper with combining computer chips and human tissue. Unfortunately, this lesson is pretty dull, cramped by stilted dialogue and a plodding pace. There's one great action sequence with an elevator car racing upward as its floor drops out, and Dan Hedaya, Ron Perlman, and Michael Ironside lend their indelible mugs for some character-actor juice. Watts provides a bit of playfulness, but it would take Mulholland Drive to unlock the more compelling part of her personality. The Shaft finds her still on the ground floor. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CAMPY WARNER January 6, 2004
Remember, folks, this movie was made before the awful disaster on 9/11. Wisely, the movie got held until later. So, if you consider that, the terrorist implication and the jokes about Bin Laden perhaps formed a sort of foreshadowing or warning. At any rate, I found "The Shaft" rather enjoyable. It has several really disturbing scenes: the death of the skateboarder was incredibly paced and filmed; the floor dropping out was mindboggling; and even the decapitated security guard's death was nerve-wracking. Add some really "humorous" asides: the foul mouthed day care teacher was way out of left field. The performances were adequate. Take Naomi Watts off of her post-Shaft pedestal (Mulholland Drive/The Ring) and you get a young actress doing the best with what she had. James Marshall who also worked with Lynch on Twin Peaks is effective, not great. Eric Thal did a nice job as his friend Jeffrey; Michael Ironside, Ron Pearlman and Dan Hedaya were effective in their almost cameo roles. Even Edward Hermann looking more and more like a younger Rudy Vallee captured the right amount of commercialism in his role. Maybe they did use the f word a little too much, but have you noticed that if the f word gets used a lot in a critically acclaimed movie (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, etc.) no one gripes about that.
Take THE SHAFT for what it is--an above average thriller that delivers.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hmmmm... June 4, 2003
This movie does for elevators what The Legend of Boggy Creek 2 did for Mad Dog attacks. It's all about elevators with human brains that force women into premature labor, teach skaters not to smoke pot, pose as terrorists and kill men, women, children, the blind and their seeing eye dogs. James Marshall stars as an ex-marine elevator repairman that plays air guitar. He's really come a long way since his Twin Peaks days-this is the male equivalent of being spit out of the bottom of the porn industry. Naomi Watts' portrayal of the smut journalist rivals that of James Earl Jones in The Ambulance. I must warn you that she is much, much less naked than she is in Mulholand Dr. It boggles the mind that she made Lynch's Oscar nominated tribute to ambiguity, The Ring and The Shaft all in the same year. The rest of the cast is a duck gallery of B-movie actors: Ron Perlman (the brilliantly played retarded/perverted monk Salvatore in The Name of the Rose as well as Konstantine Konali in Police Academy 7: Mission to Moscow), Dan Hedaya (Karla's ex-husband on Cheers, Richard Nixon in Dick and Alicia Silverstone's father in Clueless), Edward Herrmann (the head, middle-age single mother chasing vampire in The Lost Boys), Michael Ironside (from Starship Troopers, and Seaquest fame) and many more that I'm tired of looking up. Martin McDougall and John Cariani star as a pair of porn-obsessed night watchman that are salute to the bumbling law enforcers in Plan 9 from Outer Space. Well...maybe they are. The movie works on many levels, e.g., most of the people who rent or buy this movie end up feeling like they got The Shaft. I really can't figure out if it's good or bad. It's either very, very clever or one of the worst I've ever seen. Nonetheless, I'm buying the DVD.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nowhere to Go But Up February 16, 2006
"The Shaft" is definitely one of the dumbest movies I've ever seen. The premise about an elevator with demonic powers is just plain silly. It's difficult to believe that someone actually pitched this idea to a studio, and it was green-lighted. It's as bad as any desperate attempt by Irwin Allen to make a disaster movie back in the 1980s.

The dialogue is so laughable and the acting is so wooden, it's amazing that Naomi Watts's career survived. I have been a big fan of Naomi Watts ever since I saw her in "King Kong" and "21 Grams." I'm glad I saw those films before seeing this one on a late-night cable channel.

While "The Shaft" is a stupid movie, it's not without its redeeming qualities. There are some good if gruesome special effects involving the elevator decapitating a security guard and the elevator racing to the roof of the building with its passengers meeting their doom.

And since everything seems to be played tongue-in-cheek, the filmmakers don't expect us to take any of it seriously, so we can laugh at this movie without claiming that the humor is unintentional.

My complaint is not that the humor is unintentional, only that it is unfunny and flat.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No, it doesn't give you the shaft April 18, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
So the Millennium building in NYC has a killer elevator. Why is it killing people you ask? An elevator repairman and a newspaper reporter(Naomi Watts) are hot on the case. And hot definitely describes Naomi Watts. I got a real kick out of these two. They're very entertaining, and there's some fun elevator kills to boot.

Yes this movie is cheesy. If you're expecting something like The Exorcist or Alien, you might want to check the cover of the DVD box - it's a killer elevator movie for chrissakes. If you're in the mood for a cheesy good time, you'll probably enjoy the heck out of it. I know I did. And yes, they did figure out a way to fit Aerosmith's Love in an Elevator into the perfect closing credits scene.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I Always Knew Elevators Were Evil! May 22, 2003
By Amanda
The first thing you will notice about 'The Shaft' is that the acting is not good at all. Not even Naomi Watts (whom I enjoyed in 'The Ring') could deliver a line like she really meant it. You don't realize how annoying bad acting is until you see an entire movie full of it.
The second thing you will notice about 'The Shaft' is that every other word spoken by anyone is the F word. At first, it was cute. After the 600th time I heard it, I decided to give up swearing for good. The only other thing more annoying than bad acting? Over-use of the F word.
The third thing you will notice about 'The Shaft' is that the elevators are evil! I've heard of people being evil. I've even heard of buildings being evil. elevator? Actually, it may be more than just one elevator, but something freaky is happening in the Millennium Building in New York, and people are dying. Naomi plays a reporter who thinks there's a lot more to these deaths than just a malfunction. So, she teams up with an elevator repairman to get to the the bottom of it. Is it terrorists? Is the building built over an Indial burial ground? (yes, believe it or not, that was mentioned as a possibility.) Or is the elevator just a quick way to travel to hell? A couple of the scenes in the elevators reminded me of the elevator scene in 'Speed', and I wished I was watching that instead. I will admit that a couple of the evil elevator scenes were kinda cool, but the ending was just downright silly (and not well-explained).
The fourth thing you will notice about 'The Shaft' is that it could have had potential - not to be a box office horror hit, but to at least be a decent straight-to-video release. Of course, they would have had to recast the entire cast, rewrite the script and explain themselves a little better in the end.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars the shaft
saw it today and love it the movie is creepy and great i am glad i order it its more a sci-fi movie
Published 17 months ago by seetheartsoftly
2.0 out of 5 stars The Shaft
I caught this movie by mistake and the synopsis of the film sounded good. While the local video store was going out of buisness, I found it under drama. Read more
Published on July 9, 2010 by A. Pierre
3.0 out of 5 stars O K.....L I T T L E.....T H R I L L E R
THE SHAFT, (not to be comfused with the more well-known movie, "SHAFT"), is an interesting little thriller that holds your attentioin from beginning to end. Read more
Published on June 14, 2010 by Patricia
2.0 out of 5 stars Laughably stupid, but (barely) watchable nonetheless.
The Shaft (Dick Maas, 2001)

The Shaft, also known as Down, is one of those incredible train wrecks that makes you wonder how so very many recognizable people found... Read more
Published on October 10, 2008 by Robert Beveridge
4.0 out of 5 stars Corny, silly, cheesy and a whole lot of fun
"The Shaft" is one of those guilty pleasures you feel somewhat abashed at liking. I even feel embarrassed at giving this movie four stars. Read more
Published on July 9, 2008 by JLind555
1.0 out of 5 stars The Shaft -- as in giving us the . . .
Remember that scene in Big where Tom Hanks is in a meeting at his new job, playing with the transformer building -- the building that turns into a robot? Read more
Published on July 6, 2008 by Hugh Sansom
5.0 out of 5 stars The Shaft is a Cheesy Weak Movie - Good In That Mystery Science...
I am Autistic and one of my favorite things to watch is and has always been Elevators. This was a no brainer must Buy for me but I am really quite weird and loving it. Read more
Published on July 8, 2007 by THE AUTISTIC WEREWOLF
5.0 out of 5 stars A triumph!
A masterpiece which gives me renewed hope for my own script about eldritch events in a men's can called "Urinal of Terror," and its sequel, "The Haunted Break Room."
Published on June 23, 2006 by Brian Moore
3.0 out of 5 stars Well of course *I* liked it
I say this a lot, but man ya gotta wonder what a lot of the most negative reviewers were thinking when they decided to watch the movie about the murderous elevator. Read more
Published on January 18, 2006 by General Zombie
2.0 out of 5 stars For Viewers-It Brings You "Down" and Gives You "The Shaft"
Before Naomi Watts became a big star from excellent performances in excellent films like "Huckabees", "Mulholland Drive", and "21 Grams" she was delivering excellent performances... Read more
Published on August 9, 2005 by Only-A-Child
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