24th Aug2019

Frightfest 2019: ‘Girl on the Third Floor’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Phil Brooks, Trieste Kelly Dunn, Sarah Brooks, Travis Delgado, Elissa Dowling, Karen Woditsch, Marshall Bean, Anish Jethmalani, Bishop Stevens | Written and Directed by Travis Stevens


Travis Stevens, producer of films such as A Horrible Way to Die, The Aggression Scale, Starry Eyes and We Are Still Here (all fanatasic genre films may I add), turns his hand to directing with a haunted house film that, ultimately, feels like a lesser entry in the Amityville franchise.

In a surprising move, former wrestler-turned-MMA fighter Phil Brooks takes the lead as a man tipped over the edge while renovating his new family home. However bursting pipes, rotting walls and unidentifiable slime were not what Don Koch (Brooks) expected when he convinced his pregnant wife he could renovate their new Victorian home himself. In over his head, under duress, and tempted by his old weaknesses – especially from a mysteriously seductive neighbour – Don soon discovers the house has its own dark and very sordid history.

The first thing that strikes you about Girl on the Third Floor is Brooks himself. Having been a huge fan of his wrestling career (he was formerly known as C.M. Punk and is, to this day, STILL a thorn in the side of the WWE thanks to wrestling fans) I was incredibly interested to see how his performance skills in wrestling could transalte into filmmaking. Of course Brooks is not the first wrestler to make the move into the movies but he is the most interesting – after all this is a man who held the entire wrestling world in the palm of his hand with his legendary promos, then burnt it all down with his “pipebomb” promo of 2011.

So how does he fair as an actor? Well… OK. Yes, Brooks can act, his character arc here is carried well by his performance but, but, I couldn’t help think that his performance had no conviction or believeability. Yes the character of Don Koch is a bastard (as we learn piece-meal thorughout the film), but we’re supposed to still – at least for a while – empathise with him. But we don’t and that’s down to the shallow performance of Brooks who, to be fair, is also let down by a stilted script that is more concerned with selling the ghostly imagery to the audience rather than the humans living through this ordeal.

Speaking of the imagery. Girl on the Third Floor does at least look the part. The gooey, icky, smile-filled house is suitably creepy and the use of marbles to denote particularly terrifying moments (and sometimes no delivering to keep the audience on edge) is a nice touch. There’s also some great humour strewn throughout the films, deliverying laughs at just the right time to alleviate the horror before getting back to the tension.

However the films denouement, the proffered explanation post-reveal of what’s going on, that heaven and hell are literally on either side of a street seems tacked on and merely another, additional, reasoning for what we’ve seen. It’s unneeded and unnecessary. The idea of a man plagued with toxic masculinity trying to rebuild himself through the home he’s renovating and battling a similarly toxic ghostly inhabitant who sees her attackers in the behaviour of the man who now lives in her “home” is enough. Honestly.

Girl on the Third Floor? They should’ve called it Amityville: Spooge-filled Demon Brothel at least then you’d know what you were getting. Me? I’ll stick to Amityville 2 or Amityville: It’s About Time… I had a lot more fun with both of those!

**  2/5

Girl on the Third Floor screened on Friday August 23rd 2019 as part of this years Arrow Video Frightfest.


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