“Floor Below” (2019) – a short film review by Andrew Buckner
Buy yours today!
“Floor Below” (2019), from director and effects maestro Gustav Ljungdahl, is a potent and effective commentary on the disposable manner with which some companies treat their employees once they experience problems which affect their productivity. The 35-minute short film is also a confidently fashioned science-fiction/thriller with an intriguing plot. It is one which brilliantly weaves a constantly gripping mystery that has many major questions which wisely go unanswered. A decision such as this could come off as gimmicky and unsatisfactory in less capable hands. Regardless, the stellar, nuanced, and stylish without being overly showy direction from Ljungdahl, as well as the top-notch script from Ljungdahl and Jesper Danielsson, help make the central enigma, though obvious to a degree, linger long in the mind after the quietly creepy third act has concluded. This is also true of the more minute elements surrounding this paradox.
Opening with an appropriately ominous and grimly beautiful minute-long credits sequence, which is backed by music from Will England that is same said, the tale concerns office drones Melvin (Danielsson) and Carl (Emil Levin). After Carl begins to suddenly suffer from memory loss, Melvin attempts to guide him in overcoming his predicament via list-making. When this endeavor fails, Carl disappears. Such initiates a terrifying chain of events that challenges the pre-conceived ideas Melvin has of his employers’ capabilities.
Propelled by credible performances from everyone involved, “Floor Below” does a stunning job of displaying the repetitive nature of the lives of Carl and Melvin. This is most evident in the first fifteen minutes of the undertaking. This section exhibits recurrent segments of Melvin driving to and from work. It also incorporates his home activities, which quickly become familiar. It also offers a lens into the routine events Carl and Melvin undergo while laboring. Even the dialogue and some of the sharply implemented background sounds, such as the frequently heard buzzer which signifies the close of the day, showcase this quality.
The generalized conversations the pair have together, as well as with their colleagues, are pleasant without ever being too intimate or deep. They are much in line with discussions personnel who only know each other inside the institution where they toil would have with one another. Moreover, the development of the characters on-screen, especially Carl and Melvin, are erected from this model. These are smart choices on behalf of the screenplay. This is because these items enhance both the overall immersion of the piece and the inherent conundrum of what is going on behind the scenes.
Proficiently edited by Jacob Jaxon and David Eric Nilsson, the article ends on an ambitious and all-around fantastic note. Though much of the exercise utilizes the always successful method of leaving much to the imagination, the climactic stretches are filled with impressive, inventive, and often eerie effects. The dark cinematography from Jakob Gunther found in the affair highlights these abilities. It also punctuates the wonderfully executed and brooding tone of the composition.
A Yellow Pig Production, “The Floor Below” is a cerebral, shadowy, and engaging project. Its light peppering of occasional humor adds to the sheer variety of the effort. Such a touch also assists Carl and Melvin in becoming more accessible. It also provides a nice contrast to the ever-serious way in which Carl and Melvin’s boss, Mr. Thorne, carries himself. Ultimately, it is the precision with which these details are conveyed which make this technically superb and memorable descent into occupational terror such a chilling cinematic journey. It is one which is certainly worth taking.
“Floor Below” receives **** out of ***** on The Buckner Scale.