(15) Running time: 105 minutes
Director: David Twohy
Writer: Lucas Sussman, Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Bruce Greenwood, David Crow, Matthew Davis, Dexter Fletcher, Olivia Williams
Reviewed by: Matt Wavish, official HCF critic
Like the classic sci-fi thriller horrors, i’m thinking Alien, the Abyss, Event Horizon, Sunshine etc etc, Below works so incredibly well because it is based on the same submarine, the same rooms, the same corridors and passageways and the same small crew for the entire film. Set during the war, a crew of English submariners do their duty and pick up three people in distress, one of them seriously injured. Tensions are high as the crew of the submarine are uncomfortable with the new German arrivals and it is up to their strong and respected Captain to try to defuse a potentially dangerous situation. This is the least of anyone’s worries though, as strange things are happening aboard the ship. Banging noises, creaking sounds, odd things appearing on the sonar, a mysterious figure walking around, objects moving, and a horrific sounding breathing coming from one of the three people picked up (he is now dead by the way).
Below is a wonderful exercise in pure terror without ever really showing much, and it is boosted by an incredible cast who all give truly believable performances and all look absolutely scared out of their wits as the strange happenings begin to get worse and worse. Getting to know the crew members so well means we share in their panic and really feel for them. Haunting noises and nightmarish visions appear at every turn, and suddenly the race is on to survive and try and figure out just who, or what is doing this. Is the ship haunted? Is some evil force at work? Have they all lost their marbles? You will not find any answers anytime quick, and you will never guess the brilliant but a little over developed ending.
Below is everything good sci-fi horror should be, and then some. Drastically ignored on release, and for no good reason, it is high time everyone went to their nearest bargain bin and got hold of this quite brilliant little gem of a movie.