Movie Review: The 4th Floor (2000)

Synopsis: After her aunt dies following an accidental fall, Jane inherits her rent-controlled apartment and, wanting space, decides to live there on her own despite previously planning to move in with her boyfriend. However, she is almost immediately harassed by her downstairs neighbor, an elderly woman who is never seen outside her apartment, and nobody believes her. To make matters worse, the man living in the building next to hers might be a murderer.

Who's in it? The movie stars Juliette Lewis, William Hurt, Shelley Duvall, Austin Pendleton and Tobin Bell.

Review: I came across this movie a couple weeks ago and, mostly because it had a lot of recognizable actors and actresses, I decided to add it to my library. I was in the mood for a horror movie/thriller last night and, after failing to find an alternative, ended up picking this film to watch with my wife. Unfortunately, it was kind of disappointing.

When I first started watching the movie, I thought, from the description, it would be somewhat scary. When it became clear that was not going to be the case, I thought maybe it would be an intriguing mystery (why is the downstairs neighbor so insistent on tormenting a women she hasn't even met?). About halfway through, I realized it was just a dull and predictable film.

I think the thing that hurts this movie is the plot reminded me a bit too much of the film Gaslight, which also featured a woman who was tormented by an unseen person and nobody believed her. Since I've seen that movie on more than one occasion, it wasn't too difficult to figure out what was going  on in this movie and who was behind it (even though the film itself saves the final reveal until the absolute end). As a result, I found it was extremely difficult to remain interested.

Also, maybe it's just me but I've never been a huge fan of Juliette Lewis in any movie I've seen her in. I'm not sure why this is but I just can't seem to buy into any character she plays. It always feel like she's just phoning in her performance a bit. I don't think having a different actress in the lead role would have made a significant improvement on the movie but it wouldn't have hurt it either.

Final Opinion: The movie just isn't what it promises to be, and the predictable plot prevents it from being a film that is even remotely interesting to watch. If you haven't seen this movie, I recommend skipping it and watching the much better Gaslight instead.

My Grade: D


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