Girl on the Third Floor – USA, 2019 – reviews

‘Home is where Hell is’

Girl on the Third Floor is a 2019 American ‘old dark house’ horror feature film written and directed by Travis Stevens (producer of We Are Still Here; Starry Eyes; Big Ass Spider!), making his directorial debut. The Queensbury Pictures production stars Phil Brooks aka C.M. Punk, Trieste Kelly Dunn, Sarah Brooks and Elissa Dowling.


Don Koch (Phil Brooks) is a failing husband who views fixing up an old house as a chance to make up for past mistakes. Meanwhile, his wife, Liz Koch (Trieste Kelly Dunn), is concerned about the renovation timeline as they have a baby on the way. As Don tears the house apart, it begins to tear him apart as well, revealing the rot behind the drywall…


” …Stevens’ directorial debut feels like if Clive Barker and H.P. Lovecraft had teamed up to make The Money Pit, and I still feel like that is a pretty darn good summary in itself, so I’m sticking with that in this review as well. The film itself is a serious-minded horror effort, especially in the third act, but there are quite a few moments of comedy peppered throughout the story…” Heather Wixson, Daily Dead 

“Pacing takes a hit as it follows each final scene with one more final scene leaving some of the film’s energy and anger free to dissipate before the end credits roll. Girl on the Third Floor is an effectively unsettling horror film about pains caused by monsters who are far too real. The supernatural threats are definitely creepy and grotesque…” Rob Hunter, Film School Rejects

Girl on the Third Floor is a brilliant, original and exciting horror. It’s an exploration of masculinity, and of failure and weakness. Unique, smart and entertaining, it squeezes its characters and then delights in showing you what comes out of them.” Matt Edwards, Film Stories

“The film is an engaging and compelling watch, one that unfolds slowly and succinctly, literally drip feeding the audience, and Don, information about the house […] despite the film’s more sticky and sinister moments, there’s also a wry sense of humour laced within.” Kat Hughes, The Hollywood News

” …Stevens gets a lot of mileage out of his creepy house, playing with doorways and staircases in a way that often keeps us as confused as Don. This won’t be for everyone, but it’s one of the few SXSW Midnighters this year that feels like a unique vision that satisfies from beginning to gory end.”

“Stevens has true chops when it comes to the setting and atmosphere — the confines of the house never feel boring or too tight, and the film is smartly blocked — and never resorts to dumb and/or cheap scares to provoke. Rather, he’s content enough to play it slow, letting the tension simmer a bit while we get to know our protagonist, before throwing enough gross-out gonzo imagery that you’ll feel a little gross upon leaving the theater.” Vanyaland

” …tips its cap to a number of bigger, sometimes better horror opuses, resourcefully if not quite memorably reducing their tropes to a smaller scale (and budget). Yet if the story isn’t ultimately a knockout, the film’s atmospherics and sense of humor are winning nonetheless.” Dennis Harvey, Variety

Girl on the Third Floor’s ending might jar some people, since there’s an abrupt stylistic shift and some exposition that almost raises more questions than it answers. But it also offers catharsis in a restrained, sometimes skin-crawlingly tense story […] It lays a foundation for progressively weirder phenomena, building to grotesque surrealism at the climax.” Adi Robertson, The Verge


The Girl on the Third Floor had its worldwide premiere at the SXSW Film Festival on March 10, 2019, before being shown at a plethora of festivals.

Cast and the characters:

  • Phil Brooks aka C.M. Punk … Don Koch – Rabid (2018)
  • Trieste Kelly Dunn … Liz Koch
  • Sarah Brooks … Sarah Yates – Dignity; Chimera
  • Elissa Dowling … Sadie – We Are Still Here
  • Karen Woditsch … Ellie Mueller
  • Travis Delgado … Milo Stone
  • Marshall Bean … Geary McCabe
  • Anish Jethmalani … Attorney Manny Bharara
  • Bishop Stevens … Patrolman Weaver
  • Tonya Kay … The Nymph

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