Donald Koch (aka Don) and his pregnant wife Liz has decided to buy a fixer-upper in the suburbs. Believing this will be a perfect place to raise a family, Don takes his dog Cooper with him and starts renovating their new home while Liz stays back in Chicago. As the renovation work brings a few unpleasant surprises, it becomes evident that there’s something not quite right with the house…and when a sexy young woman called Sarah appears on the property, acting all seductive and insistent, Don gets more than a handful of problems to handle.
Let me start by saying this: The Girl on the Third Floor is a movie that is most definitely not for everyone. While starting off with what could be interpreted as a typical haunted house story, it adds a few elements of its own that is apparently a bit…off-putting for some people. Already from the start, we see goo on the floor and around the house (which obviously is bodily fluids). It’s dripping out of electrical sockets and down from walls, while we listen to strange moaning sounds. And we get to know what all of this represents: as Don works on the renovations and gets into a conversation with a neighbor, he finds out that the house was once a brothel. While I have seen many twists on houses that partly becomes alive in some ways during a haunting, I have never seen one where a house is having an orgasm. So, uhm…that’s a new one. (And I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s actually a fetish for that kind of thing).
The story starts with a familiar construction: a couple trying to get a new life, by moving to a new location and buy themselves a fixer-upper. In this case, Don’s infidelity is what’s caused a severe strain on the relationship, and this is supposed to be their second chance. Don is quickly tempted back to his old ways when Sarah appears, and needless to say…he is giving in pretty easily to his temptations. Seductive and tempting as she may be, this makes it a bit hard to sympathize much with Don.
Some of the things that happens throughout Don’s attempts at renovating the house is of the typical “haunted house” bits and bobs, but there are some pretty clever ideas here and there. Especially the ghost who is the girl on the third floor, who appears with a mangled face and some kind of bondage-harness wrapped around her body. While she isn’t the only ghost there, her background story is what mostly fuels the darkness behind the house: the brothel was used by people who had dark urges, and little to no respect towards the women who worked there, often abusing them and even causing their deaths. This part feels a little unexplored, however, and what actually happened to the girl on the third floor and the other girls is mostly hinted at…although I guess this can leave more to the imagination. We know that the girl on the third floor was abused and killed, and her ghostly appearance very clearly shows us the after-effects of what she went through. Overall, The Girl on the Third Floor never manages to be scary, but it does have a fair bit of atmosphere, and pleasant visuals.
Fun fact: the movie was filmed in a real house, that underwent renovations during the time (but it was held off until the filming was completed). And this house was already rumored to be haunted.
Director: Travis Stevens
Country & year: USA, 2019
Actors: C.M. Punk, Trieste Kelly Dunn, Sarah Brooks, Elissa Dowling, Karen Woditsch, Travis Delgado, Marshall Bean, Anish Jethmalani, Bishop Stevens, Tonya Kay, Eileah Pyrzynski