Elevator Game – need to know

'Don't speak to the 5th Floor Woman' and other handy tips for the Shudder horror about a game with high stakes.

What happens in Elevator Game?

Based on the online phenomenon of the same name, Elevator Game is a horror that follows socially awkward teenager Ryan, who ingratiates himself into a group of recent high school graduates that run an online web series debunking urban legends. But Ryan has a secret: his sister disappeared months earlier, and he believes they – and a dangerous online challenge called ‘The Elevator Game’ – were responsible. To play the game, you must ride the elevator in a specific sequence, invoking a supernatural creature called ‘The 5th Floor Woman’. In an attempt to gain more information as to the whereabouts of his sister, Ryan persuades the group to play the game once more, and risk unleashing the most fearsome consequences imaginable.

Rotten Tomatoes

Who stars in Elevator Game?

Megan Best, Adam Hurtig and Gino Anania.

Who directs Elevator Game?

The film is directed by Rebekah McKendry and was written by David Ian McKendry and Travis Seppala.

Watch the Elevator Game trailer

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Is the Elevator Game movie based on a true story?

This story is based on a modern urban myth/ game that originated in Japan and South Korea. Magellan TV has an article about the game and its rules, including Step 4:

Now, push the button to descend from the 5th floor to the 1st floor. Here’s where they say things could get crazy: If the elevator operates normally and takes you to the 1st floor, exit immediately and do not look back or talk to anyone. But if, instead of taking you from the 5th to the 1st floor, the elevator begins to go up . . . well, congratulations, you’re being allowed into another world. Or so they say. Alternatively, you might resist the urge to freak out, and instead simply press the emergency button and wait for the Fire Department to arrive with help.

Magellan TV

The film is also said to take inspiration from the tragic story of Elisa Lam.

In 2021, Esquire published an article about the Netflix series Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel, which investigated the grainy elevator security camera footage at the hotel that marked the final known recording of 21-year-old Canadian tourist Lam, who was last seen on 31 January, 2013:

The 21-year-old appears frantic and paranoid in the four minutes of footage—pressing multiple buttons, peeking nervously out of the doors, and hiding against the wall of the unmoving elevator from what appears to be an unseen person. The footage has since become infamous, going viral that February after the police first released it to the public, asking for tips in the case of Lam’s disappearance. Scores of internet sleuths jumped on the case of the missing young woman, and theories of paranormal activity, a threatening off-camera figure, and video manipulation quickly began to spread online. 


On February 19, 2013, twenty days after Lam was last seen, a hotel staffer was sent up to the roof of the hotel to check on the water tanks after several guest complaints about low pressure and murky water coming out of the taps. It was then when Lam’s body was discovered, floating naked in one of the four large tanks that provided the hotel’s water supply.


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What happens if you talk to the 5th Floor Woman in the Elevator Game?

According to a 2020 article about the game by Kyrie Gray on Medium:

If you speak or look at her, she’ll never let you come back home. You hit the first-floor button, knowing it will either take you to the 10th floor, the other world, or the 1st, which will allow you to exit into your own.


Where and when can I watch Elevator Game?

Elevator Game premieres on Shudder on 15 September 2023.

Paul Dalgarno is author of the novels A Country of Eternal Light (2023) and Poly (2020); the memoir And You May Find Yourself (2015); and the creative non-fiction book Prudish Nation (2023). He was formerly Deputy Editor of The Conversation and joined ScreenHub as Managing Editor in 2022. X: @pauldalgarno. Insta: @dalgarnowrites