Girl On The Third Floor is the directorial debut of Travis Stevens. He’s not new to either film or the horror genre though. He has a long list of credits as a producer including Starry Eyes, Mohawk, A Horrible Way To Die and We Are Still Here. And, like the last of those films, this is centered around a house where the wrongs of the past continue to haunt the present.
Don Koch (Phil Brooks, better known as wrestler C.M. Punk) is a man on the edge. He’s lost his job and narrowly avoided a long stretch in jail. Now he’s trying to put it all behind him and renovate the house he and expectant wife Liz (Trieste Kelly Dunn). Things get off to a less than great start however as he finds an odd, and oddly familiar-looking, fluid oozing out of the electric outlets. And the plumbing is more than happy to dump nasty black goo on him. But neither that or warnings from the pastor next door (Karen Woditsch) and a bartender about the house can stop him.
It does get him to break his vow of sobriety. And, after meeting the odd, and forcefully seductive Sarah (Sarah Brooks) some other vows as well. When his buddy Milo (Travis Delgado) turns up to help only to see what looks like evidence of an affair things begin to slide out of control. Can Don fight his own demons and the ones that dwell in the house?
Stevens, who also wrote Girl On The Third Floor, begins the film slowly. It feels more like a psychological thriller rather than a supernatural one at first. What we see could as easily be the result of Don’s mental state and relapse into old habits. But once it flips the switch there’s no doubt what kind of threat he’s facing.
The central premise of Girl On The Third Floor, that the house attracts and tests a certain kind of person, is stretching things a bit. But it makes for a great framework for a story that hinges on somebody who wants to change his ways. Or at least says they do.
The final act features some impressive effects. From some very effective gore to the bizarre Nymph (Tonya Kay, D-Railed, Evil Bong 777) it’s jammed with them. Thankfully they’re not CGI, but practical effects that give a sense of reality to some rather unreal occurrences. Several of the scenes are wince-inducing. One will be especially disturbing to animal lovers.
Brooks was known for his skills cutting a promo as well as his in-ring skills as a wrestler. So it’s not a great surprise that he actually is a talented actor. He comes across like a massively inked version of Bruce Campbell in looks and range. Going from almost slapstick comedy at the start to straight horror by the midpoint of Girl On The Third Floor. He could have a bright future with the right roles.
Girl On The Third Floor is on the last leg of its festival run, including a screening at the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival. Dark Sky Pictures will release it on October 25th. You can check its website and Facebook page for details.