Hey folks, Harry here with David Twohy's BELOW. This started life as Darren Aronofsky's PROTEUS, but at some point Darren left the project and David Twohy came in hot as a Toht's Tibetan poker off of PITCH BLACK. Personally, I feel that Twohy is well on his way to collectively kicking ass left and right. I've got a really strong feeling about this guy. I liked THE ARRIVAL quite a bit, but loved PITCH BLACK... If the trend continues I might have kids with his next flick, THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK, the sequel/prequel/continuing adventures of Vin Diesel's Riddick character! Well, the following review has some plot points that you might want to avoid so that this movie hits you like mjonir between the eyes. Having said that, this guy says BELOW is the best looking Submarine movie since DAS BOOT!!! Well, if that isn't high praise I don't know what is... Here we go!
Caught a 'preview' of a new flick at the Ridgefield Loews tonight. Now all I knew going in was that it was a sub movie, so I was hoping like hell that meant 'K-19' with Harrison Ford. But then the movie started and a big title 'Below' came up on the screen. Major disappointment. Never heard of it. But let me tell ya, Harry, after about 15 minutes, I forgot all about Mr. Hans Solo.
Titles tell us its 1943. U.S. submarine is ordered to pick up some shipwreck survivors at sea. One just happens to be the British babe-alert from 'Rushmore' (sorry, no creds on the movie) and this is about still 10 minutes in and I'm thinking "I REALLY wish this were K-19, because no real submarine flick should have chicks on board." But the sailors react to the woman like you'd expect sailors to react -- they're tough on her, refer to her as "brillo pad" behind her back, say its bad luck to have a "bleeder" on board, etc. And we're suspicious about her and the other survivors/strangers they've taken on board 'cuz weird shit starts immediately happening -- a torpedo goes out of control -- record players start mysterisouly playing.
But then you start thinking maybe it's not the strangers but the other people on the sub who're doing the sabotage, maybe even some of the officers. The woman finds out that they're down one officer -- a very important officer -- and then we get different stories about how he died during the mission. You never know who's telling the truth and who's lying -- but some unholy shit is goin‚ down while you figure it all out.
Guess you could call "Below" a ghost story -- it has some good scares, some creepy sound fx that get you cranked up. But the dope thing about this one is that you never really know if there's a ghost or not -- some people believe, some don't -- and there's usually another reasons why the strange stuff is happening. One of the best things they do is let you decide for yourself -- and that don't happen too much in flix these day, they have to fucking spell it out FOR YOU IN BIG CAPITOL LETTERS, telling you what you just saw. Well not this movie. It let's you decide, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!
No real names in the movie, just faces I knew from other films -- the guy from "Legally Blonde" doing a real dramatic role here. (My bud says he was in "Tigerland" too.) And the guy I think who played JFK in "13 Days" was the captain of the sub. But what shines most is the movie. It just fuckin‚ twists with your mind.
Buncha good scenes, but especially one where four guys had to go diving outside the sub. They go out while a German ship is depth-charging for them, okay? As if that's not hairy enough they run into a flock of big honkin‚ sting rays -- and the first look at them is totally bizzarre. The divers swim up into the ship's ballest tank, this huge and slimey place to fix an oil leak that is giving them away to the German ship. Suffice to say, not everyone returns from that mission.
There's a Big Bad Secret on the submarine that I'd just tell you if this were the normal shit-for-brains flick so you could save the eight frog-skins, but I'll hold off on that spoiler cuz I liked the movie so much.
Best looking sub since "Das Boot." And I‚ve seen all the sub movies. (Take that back. I ducked 'Down Perisocpe') This sub was down and dirty, really lived in. I dug how it was dripping and leaking most of the time -- and how that didn't seem to bother the sailors. Just business as usual on a wartime sub, I guess.
„"Below" is an antidote for the crapfest of horror films that Hollywood has put out lately, that started with "The Haunting" and continued on full steam ahead with "13 Ghosts". Christ on a cracker, what was THAT movie all about? (Just for reference, I did like "From Hell" and "The Others". I'd put "Below" right in there with that group.)
Movie felt like an "R," and let's hope they keep it that way.
Gettin‚ late, gotta doze.