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Into the Dark - Down - Review: Claustrophobia + POLL

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Read my recap of the previous episode of Into the Dark here.

In the upper echelon of a skyscraper, a pair of coworkers with vastly different lives find themselves fated on a doomed elevator ride. Jennifer, played by Natalie Martinez, sends an email to someone named Derek - who she intends to meet. Given the subtext of the email and the words eaten by her backspace key, we can infer this is likely an ex.

Guy, played by Matt Lauria, is on his way to see a work client with a bottle of wine. Both of them need to use the elevator to go from a floor above the fortieth and down to the basement level parking garage.

Jennifer (Natalie Martinez), shown. (Photo by:
Richard Foreman, Jr. SMPSP/Hulu)
Within moments of riding the metal canister of death down its shaft, the elevator shudders to a halt. And we've already established it's the three-day weekend for President's Day coupled with Valentine's Day, all in one. The odds of someone being available from maintenance are slim. I'm already tense.

Of course nothing in the elevator is working except the lights and the tiny television screen playing advertisements. But none of the buttons are lit up, no one answers the call and even the alarm doesn't ring when they push it. They try to wave at the camera and it pans away to a monitor. Someone could be watching them.

Jennifer is getting anxious because she has a flight to catch. Plus, come on, I firmly believe everyone has at least some degree of claustrophobia. At some point it's a survival instinct.

Since they have nothing better to do, Jennifer and Guy begin to get know each other. She is an accounts supervisor in public relations on the 49th floor whereas Guy is a newcomer to an accounting firm on the 42nd floor. They pass away the hours playing games, talking about their work, and drawing pictures of each other.

Jennifer (Natalie Martinez), shown. (Photo by: Richard
Foreman, Jr. SMPSP/Hulu)
During their art session, Guy reveals he lied before. He has noticed Jennifer around the building and he's always thought she was attractive and upbeat. Jennifer flattered. He assures her he isn't a stalker but honestly, that was my first thought of where this episode might be headed.

As expected, Jennifer and Guy eventually succumb to their mutual attraction and their boredom in the elevator. They end up having sex and the encounter is super steamy. Either Martinez and Lauria have excellent chemistry (that sexual tension was butterfly-inducing) or maybe just everyone inevitably connects in a confined space, but having sex is as good a way to pass the time as any and probably way more fun than throwing Hershey kiss wrappers into a bag.

But, Guy lets slip he could "fall in love with her" and you can see the alarm bells going off in Jennifer's head. Everything unravels from that point in a familiar fashion. Guy is a stalker. He's been watching Jennifer for months. He works in the office security department and he orchestrated this entire scenario to get close to Jennifer.

Guy (Matt Lauria), shown. (Photo by: Richard
Foreman, Jr. SMPSP/Hulu)
She reacts as one would, in panic, fear, and anger. They fight and their violent altercation leads to both of them going unconscious for a while. Frustratingly enough, Guy actually had the elevator key all along and there is a moment where he turns it back on and lets Jennifer leave! But instead of bolting out the door, she hangs around to yell at him about sending him to jail. Of course he doesn't take kindly to that! And turns it off again. Should have ran while you had the chance Jen.

In typical stalker behavior, after Guy's violent outburst he goes back to playing the good guy and finds a ceiling panel he can move to get them out. But Jennifer convinces him to let her go first. Look, I'm not rooting for the empire here but Guy must have known she wasn't going to come back for him!

Guy (Matt Lauria), shown. (Photo by: Richard
 Foreman, Jr. SMPSP/Hulu)
And it plays out, again, as you'd expect. Jennifer almost gets out but Guy makes his way up not long after her and causes both of them to go crashing down into the elevator once again. Cue Guy's boring sob story - his real name is John Deakens.

Finally, help arrives in the form of one of John's security team co-workers but John kills him. I mean if you have a scene or episode based on an elevator, you need to have someone get chopped in half by the doors, it's an unwritten Hollywood law. But he does get the other guy's key and uses it to take Jennifer out to the trunk of his car where he plans to murder her.

But before he can manage that, she plays dead and tricks him into opening the trunk, giving her a chance to knock him in the head and steal his car. The odds are, John is going to come for her though so she decides to kill him and make sure she never has to deal with him again. Using the cigars he was smoking, Jennifer lights him on fire from where lays, injured, in a dumpster. He already provided the gasoline when he intended to kill her so the stage was set, all she had to do was light the match (or cigar in this case) and watch him burn.

Guy (Matt Lauria), shown. (Photo by: Richard Foreman, Jr. SMPSP/Hulu)


- I'm super claustrophobic and elevators terrify me. I've been stuck in one before and it was shaking the entire time because something was caught in the door so I'm traumatized for life. The very concept of this episode is a nightmare.

- Girl: Are you claustrophobic? Guy: I'm not not claustrophobic.

- I'm glad they mentioned the whole "having to pee when trapped in an elevator" thing it's something I always think about when it happens in horror movies or other shows.

- As of yet, I don't think I've watched a single episode of Into the Dark that really needed a 90 minute runtime.

- Guy tells Jennifer he would rather kill her than go to jail and then a few minutes later gets pissed when she's scared of him. "Stop acting like I would hurt you!" Dude, self-awareness, learn some.

- When Guy found an opening in the ceiling, I find it hard to believe he couldn't have just crawled out on his own? He was right there.

- Did he really think he was going to get away with all this? I mean he left behind at least two bodies to be found in the elevator shaft and tons of his DNA everywhere.

A new episode of Into the Dark titled "Treehouse" airs March 1st on Hulu.

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