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The Shaft (2001)

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When the express elevators in the Millennium Building, one of New York's most famous landmarks, start to malfunction and behave in erratic ways, elevator mechanic Mark Newman is sent out to... See full summary »


Dick Maas


Dick Maas

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Cast overview, first billed only:
James Marshall ... Mark Newman
Naomi Watts ... Jennifer Evans
Eric Thal ... Jeffrey
Michael Ironside ... Gunter Steinberg
Edward Herrmann ... Milligan
Dan Hedaya ... Lt. McBain
Ron Perlman ... Mitchell
Kathryn Meisle ... Mildred
Martin McDougall ... Security Guard Andy
John Cariani ... Security Guard Gary
David Gwillim ... Blind Man (Mr Faith)
Peter Banks Peter Banks ... Maintenance Chief
William Vanderpuye William Vanderpuye ... Murphy (as Will Vanderpuye)
Wilke Durand Wilke Durand ... Kowalski's Wife
Todd Boyce ... ESU Captain


When the express elevators in the Millennium Building, one of New York's most famous landmarks, start to malfunction and behave in erratic ways, elevator mechanic Mark Newman is sent out to find the cause of the problems. His investigation meets unexpected resistance and not everybody seems to be happy with his involvement. After a gruesome and deadly incident, in which a blind man falls into the shaft and a security guard is decapitated, the police start an investigation. They are however not very successful. Mark is determined to find the cause. He is joined by a female reporter, Jennifer, who is looking for a juicy story. Together they try to unravel the secrets behind the mysterious behaviour of the elevator that seems to have a life of it's own. When things get worse and death toll rises, The Government, fearing terrorists are involved, seal off the building. What at first looked like a routine job turns into a horrifying nightmare in which Mark has to face an enemy whose blood ... Written by FFF

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for horror violence, language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



USA | Netherlands



Release Date:

6 September 2001 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

The Shaft See more »

Filming Locations:

New York, USA See more »


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital EX



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


A wide theatrical release in the United States was ultimately canceled due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Although entirely coincidental, the film makes several references to terrorism in NYC, getting as specific as mentioning plane hjackings and Osama Bin Laden destroying the World Trade Center. See more »


Mitchell: We live in a vertical world. If you can't trust the elevators, what the fuck *can* you trust?
See more »


References Casablanca (1942) See more »


Love in an Elevator
Performed by Aerosmith
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User Reviews

all the good comment titles have been taken!
29 June 2006 | by Jonny_NumbSee all my reviews

It all begins with a sweeping, awe-inspiring shot of The Millennium Building, one of New York City's premier hotels, housing all of 100-some odd floors. We zero in on two goombah bellboys spying on an old man and two old-looking women boinking in a highrise across the street; this scene brings to mind Brian De Palma's "Body Double," and the decent production values mixed with aforementioned homage give the viewer an (admittedly misleading) impression of what's to come. While fully aware of the (admittedly deserved) bad reputation most DTV efforts have, "The Shaft" at least starts off with promise. Writer-director Dick Maas (remaking his 1983 Dutch original, "The Lift") has a knack for framing scenes, building suspense, and keeping his camera firmly in the moment. The problem is, his script is a muddled misfire, never quite settling on a solid path; the result is an accidental bending of sci-fi, horror, and flat-out action that never gels as well as it should. After an elevator in the Millennium knocks off a bunch of victims in extravagant fashion, the plot devolves into a drawn out (and ultimately unsuccessful) search for The Truth--suddenly elevator repairman James Marshall (imagine a cut-rate Brad Pitt) and fetching reporter Naomi Watts (pre-"Mulholland Drive") are standing in for Guy Pearce and Russell Crowe, turning this into "El.A. Confidential." And in the final act, Maas spins the film into the outer limits of absurdity with a Michael Bay extravaganza of stunts and explosions, throwing in some references to Osama bin Laden and terrorism (pre-9/11!) for good measure. Save for Watts' lead role, most of the big names on the video box (including Ron Perelman, Dan Hedaya, Edward Herrmann, and Michael Ironside) are relegated to smaller 'guest appearances' (though every little bit helps). Big names aside, the premise is stretched so thin that you'll be hard-pressed to care about anything by the time the noisy climax rolls around. "The Shaft" takes a concept with genuine horror potential and transforms it into a bowl of cold oatmeal.

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