A glossy but base thriller that fuses FATAL ATTRACTION with DIE HARD, the lowbrow LOWER LEVEL sports a plot with more padding than the limbs of the stunt personnel.
Hillary White (Elizabeth Gracen) is a successful architect ensconced in a lonely executive suite atop the highrise office building she's just designed. She has a yuppie lover named Sam (David Bradley) who won't commit, and she vents her frustrations in torrid diary entries calling upon a handsome
stranger to come and rescue her from this ivory tower (it sounds even dopier in voice-over). Unbeknownst to Hillary, a muscular meathead of a security guard named Craig (Jeff Yagher) is infatuated with her and surreptitiously reads her secret journal, taking her fantasies quite literally.
One day when the architect stays late, Craig locks up the building, trapping Hillary and Sam inside. Craig thus expects to force Hillary into a hot date with him; as the obsessed psycho later says, it seemed like a good idea at the time. When it fails, Craig tricks Sam into an open elevator shaft,
then plays out lengthy cat-and-mouse scenes with the frantic heroine. "You really want to hurt me, huh?" posits Craig as Hillary bashes his skull with a fire extinguisher. The low blow of an ending has Craig abruptly choosing to dive off the roof, as if director Kristine Peterson just gave up when
the stopwatch approached the ninety-minute mark.
Peterson knows how to create suspense using sounds and silences, but the dominant mood in LOWER LEVEL is frustration, with the minuscule cast behaving like idiots to prevent the tale from finishing early or logically. When Hillary and Sam find themselves sealed in the parking garage, what is their
first impulse? To have sex, of course. The act gives Hillary a brainstorm, and she triggers the overhead sprinkler system; that doesn't save them, but it does offer viewers the sight of Gracen in a wet slip. Craig recovers instantly from violence and situations that would have killed anyone in
reality, and the protagonists idiotically muff chance after chance to escape.
The sleek Gracen has been seen before in movie and TV roles, but she is most notorious as the 1982 Miss America winner, and the first wearer of the crown to pose later for Playboy. LOWER LEVEL had a low-profile release to home video. (Violence, profanity, nudity, sexual situations.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1992
- Rating: R
- Review: A glossy but base thriller that fuses FATAL ATTRACTION with DIE HARD, the lowbrow LOWER LEVEL sports a plot with more padding than the limbs of the stunt personnel. Hillary White (Elizabeth Gracen) is a successful architect ensconced in a lonely executive… (more)