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Home | Film Review: Below (2002)

Film Review: Below (2002)


In the dark silence of the sea during World War II, the submarine U.S.S. Tiger Shark prowls on what should be a routine rescue mission. But for the shell-shocked crew, trapped together in the sub’s narrow corridors and constricted spaces, this is about to become a journey into the sensory delusions, mental deceptions and runaway fear that lurk just below the surface of the ocean and deep inside the human psyche


1943, a submarine, the U.S.S. Tiger Shark is in route to a small rescue mission. Though the waters this time of year are infested with enemy ships. As they bring aboard 3 survivors from a sunken British hospital vessel, they are forced to submerge in fear of hostile confrontation.

As “Below (2002) film” progresses, it gets increasingly harder to navigate the waters with enemy ships hovering over above. A few close calls entail escaping underwater bombs and dragger hooks aimed at fishing out hidden underwater vessels. It is an era of German ships and cruisers intent on sinking U.S. vessels.

Claire (Olivia Williams) one of the survivors brought aboard, is a medical nurse who has saved 2 of her patients from her now sunken ship. Though with a crew that has been out to sea too long and starting to get paranoid, it becomes hard to maintain a sense of dignity and balance. Brice (Bruce Greenwood) is the now acting captain since the original ships captain experienced an accident that caused him to fall overboard. His crew is accompanied by officers Loomis (Holt McCallany), Kingsley (Dexter Fletcher), Odell (Matthew Davis) and Coors (Scott Foley). It appears that they may have to stay out to sea longer than they anticipated until its safe to surface again.

With the seas ailments and an already edgy crew, they didn’t expect to in the company of spirits who begin to haunted the passengers. Noises arise, events go unexplained and specters seem to loom in the shadows. We find that maybe the ship is cursed and hiding something that doesn’t feel right in the stories being circulated. When they decide to rest the ship on the oceans floor, these spirits also seem to increase in intensity. “Below” is indeed a ghost film that never really has to prove itself beyond its simple inclusions. It’s atmospheric supernatural elements enhance the tense storyline while delivering a ship movie with a slightly different mix.

“Below”, provides a pretty edgy thriller that while not a total spook show manages to maintain a decent amount of eeriness. The dark hallways, the darkened sea, and a mental breakdown occurring within in a few crew doesn’t help the situation.

Directed by David Twohy, “Below” is one of the better underwater horror films. It is kept as a “more is less” presentation while enhanced with the strange surroundings of a haunted environment. We expect “something” to occur, just never know when that something will rear its spooky head. The cast is enhanced with a few familiar faces that interact in a believable way. Even as the horror unfolds in small doses, a mystery thriller begins to surface in this under-rated gem. “Below” succeeds as a dark suspenseful filled adventure.

Rarely do B pictures manage to supercede there expectations and rise above with a solid story-line. Though with tight cinematography per Ian Wilson, we get to experience some really beautiful shots. Now if you didn’t catch this in the credits you’ll want to take note that the story was written by 3 writers, one of them being the noted director Darren Aronofsky. I’ve seen this film being lumped into combo sets though it easily stands alone as a film to watch.

Do yourself a favor and check out this great underwater creep show.

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