I have to say I had no idea what this film was about when we sat down to watch it. I might live under a rock, but some movies do slip by me, shock! I mentioned that the cover does make you think, and when you have not heard of this movie, the title, Below, and the image of a submarine kind of hint at things to come.
The first five minutes really grabbed a hold of me and it never let go. No body scrimpted and saved on the production of this film. With seriously high quality sets, excellent special effects and attention to detail throughout the entire movie you get lost in the story and never question the fact that you are being held in closed quarters at the bottom of the ocean.
The story breaks out of what you might think a WWII time frame might imply. There’s a lot more to this crew than meets the eye, and functioning under so much pressure, both real pressure and emotional pressure, leads to combustible interaction between the characters. The tension in almost every scene is built around a few different themes going on. A ship captain who has died before we board, suspicion amongst the crew, rescued ship wreck victims, a mysterious series of things happening aboard, all add up to some seriously interesting twists and turns.
The cast is spot on, a really impressive effort by all to bring these characters to life in a situation that could be tough to pull off to today’s skeptical audiences.
There are a few things about this film I think are near genius, in terms of directing and editing choices. I won’t go into detail because a lot of it will shed light on things in the story that are better experienced first hand when you see the movie. I’ll just say that there are so many layers to this story, and to the visual aspects of it that your eyes and/or your mind will be in a constant state of , “wow”.
I’m not a submarine connoisseur, so if you find something out of place or inaccurate in the sets or terminology, just keep it to yourself and stop being so picky. When depth charges go off around the sub, the action is so claustrophobic and the violence the crew endures (the sub crew/movie crew) makes you almost feel the severe knocks they are going through.
I like the combination of spook show, action flick, creepy story, military theme, WWII setting, intriguing characters and unpredictability. You think it’s going on way and before you know it, you get a wrench in your theory and things turn around on you. I like that.
With a director/writer who knows how to give you a thrill, and a story that doesn’t let you off the hook for a second, this is one movie I’m excited to pass on the good word about.
Did I mention the creepy factor? Yes, you might think you are a hardened dude who doesn’t get freaked out by much, but you might find that a few things in this movie make you shake your head and think, “damn, that’s freaky!” Get ready to re-discover that part of your brain that used to come alive when you watched those classic, though flawed, horror flicks of your misspent youth. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing cheap about Below, unlike like those oldies but goodies like Friday the 13th and Halloween, but that feeling you got the first time you jumped at a shocking scene back then comes flooding back. It’s a good thing, trust me.
I like this movie for a lot of reasons, even with a few weak story glitches, the excitement of the setting and the fact that I got lost in it from start to finish counts BIG with me. When I stop trying to figure out what’s going to happen and focus on what’s happening, that is something to sing about. Well, I won’t sing, but you get the idea.