Its conceit would be a great horror movie to some (and I’m sure it will be the claustrophobic setting of some enterprising low-budget genre breakthrough, if it hasn’t already), but Trapped in an Elevator, the latest PBS Nova title to premiere on DVD, just lacks enough inherent intrigue or narrative meat on its bones to make it interesting or worthwhile to any reasonable slice of a mainstream audience.
The release’s back cover text peddles statistics as ominous-factoids-in-waiting (“Across North America, elevators move 325 million passengers every day, and most of the time people don’t give them a second thought…”), but Trapped in an Elevator is chiefly a look at the brainy, nuts-and-bolts makeover of elevator computer control panels. Writer-director Joseph Seamans attempts to paint this as potentially dangerous for our individual and collective future (entrusting our vertical movement to, gasp, technology!), and narrator John Lithgow gamely breathes concern into voiceover text. But this is all a big yawn, really. On his Comedy Central show last year, Daniel Tosh did an amusing “web redemption” segment on a guy that got trapped in an elevator for 41 hours, and that three-minute bit is more entertaining and engaging than all 56 minutes of Trapped in an Elevator.
Housed in a regular plastic Amaray case, Trapped in an Elevator comes to DVD presented in 1.33:1 full screen, with an English language stereo audio track. There are no supplemental features, or stickers of the most over-elevatored buildings in the world. To purchase the DVD, click here, or phone (800) PLAY-PBS. Or, if Amazon is totally and irreversibly your online retailer of choice, click here. C- (Movie) D (Disc)