October 11, 2002 (Limited)
Rated R for language and some violence
During World War II, the submarine USS Manta is sent to rescue three survivors of a sunken British ship, only to find that not only are there Nazi ships lurking around, but there might be something else below them as well......
Full synopsis »
When the slasher films grow unpopular, it is time for adult horror films, and the latest entry is Below, a creepy though somewhat unsatisfying ghost thriller from director David Twohy. The film was marketed as "by Darren Aronofosky, the director of Requiem for a Dream and Pi," but in truth Aronofsky only wrote the film, and let's face it: While writing is important, there is more to a movie than just a good screenplay, and if the distributor, in this case Dimension Films, is resorting to using his name, then there has to be problems. Indeed there are, but the number of flaws is much less than what I was expecting, and don't really amount until the end. Unfortunately, it is the end that counts, but in the meantime, Below is a relatively fun and creepy film. It is about a crew on board a submarine during WWII that has been ordered to pick up survivors from a sunken British ship. They find three, of which is a woman (Olivia Williams); she seems to be hiding something. The submarine continues on its way, but the crewmembers begin to see and hear things that they shouldn't. Is it the claustrophobia of the ship, or something more menacing? Of course, since this is a horror movie, it is something more menacing. The majority of the movie focuses on creepy images that are spotted only out of the corner of the characters' eyes, and while the approach is pretty basic, it is also fairly effective. There were a few times when I covered my eyes, and I was surprisingly engaged for the most part. Twohy also uses a few interesting camera tricks to make his movie stand out. Unfortunately, while Below is for the most part rather suspenseful, it becomes clear with about twenty minutes left that it isn't going to finish very well. Secrets are revealed pertaining to people on board, and the movie takes on the appearance of many other films of the genre. By the time the movie ended, I was quite disappointed with the way things turned out; everything just seems inconclusive. Below continues to gather momentum up until the end, but then stumbles badly and suffers because of it. For pure entertainment value, Below is a surprisingly good pick, but expect to be a little disappointed by the time the final credits roll. Full movie review »