Girl on the Third Floor
It feels like we haven't really gotten this years definitive haunted house movie - but just in time for Halloween comes GIRL ON THE THIRD FLOOR to change all of that. Fresh to streaming services, the film was directed by Travis Stevens (who produced We Are Still Here) and stars the much-love WWE wrestler CM Punk as our main character who takes on his newly purchased haunted house head-on. By the trailer alone, the movie may seem pretty standard but allow me to reassure you, this film will shock you and blow your fucking mind away in such a gracious way. There has been a lot of buzz around this film prior to its release and I am more than happy to report that Girl on the Third Floor more than delivers in this twisted, unnerving sexual haunt. It's up there on par with some of the best mindfuck horror we've gotten this year like Midsommar. Heed this warning: Girl on the Third Floor is a gory, dumbing experience as CM Punk's character Don descends into hell, bringing his loved ones along with him.
Don and his dog Cooper show up to the newly acquired, vintage home to do a complete renovation of the property before his wife Liz (Trieste Kelly Dunn) makes the move in with their baby on the way. As Don spends some time redoing walls and pipes, he notices there's something just a bit... off.... about the house, but doesn't really pay it too much mind. While working on the renovations one day, Don meets the stunning young blonde Sarah (Sarah Brooks) who tells Don she's always loved the property and offers him some "help" - and Don doesn't really hesitate to take it, knowing his wife was back at their old home. From this point forward is when the house begins to consume Don from the inside out, as he tries to decipher what the actual fuck is going on; what is real, and what is fake. The insides of the house are exposed - secrets, death, and lots of hair - but will it take down the marriage of Don and Liz with it?!
I should probably preface this by noting that I'm not a wrestling fan, and my only knowledge of CM Punk is through his name being mentioned by friends; so I don't want anyone to think I may have some sort of bias because I'm a fan of Punk. That being said, I'm now a fan of Punk, after watching this flick. I didn't really know what to expect going into this one, but boy did I find the fuck out by the time the credits began to roll. Girl on the Third Floor is one of the most excellently executed horror films of the year, with a cleverly brutal new take on the haunted house story. The backstory to the haunted property is dark, mental, and totally fetish driven; it's marvelous in every sense. The house itself is pretty standard - it's the insides that are revealed when gutted that really tell the story both physically and mentally. For lack of better words, it's fucking sick. There is a pretty surprising amount of gore and violence in the film that I totally did not expect (but welcomed) from seeing the trailer, but it's not overwhelming or overdone in the slightest; it's just the right amount to continue to push the story to where it needs to go. A perfect use of blood and guts. I loved the backstory and the effects wholeheartedly - I think the writers nailed it on the head when it came to giving this property a pretty twisted history.
While there's nothing really memorable about the characters (besides maybe the sexual ferocity of Sarah), the cast also played a role in why this film kicks ass. CM Punk's sense of hopelessness as the effects of his choices come to fruition is totally stellar. I know wrestlers-turned-actors don't always make for the best casting decisions, but CM Punk totally nailed his part as Don, and alongside Dunn and Brooks, they made a fantastic little story that I really hope gets the push it deserves this haunt season. If you're a fan of the haunt house trope, don't skip out on Girl on the Third Floor because it will totally shake the genre for you; but don't expect this to be your typical, run of the mill ghost story, it's so much more than that. It's a little mind-bender that will make you physically exclaim "what the fuck" out loud (2x for me!). I strongly encourage you to drop the money to rent this film - it will freak you the fuck out, I know it will.