Below 2002 Movie Scene Bruce Greenwood as Brice and Holt McCallany as Loomis waiting for the right moment to send a signal

Below [2002]

Movies about submarine crews always feel the same and yet they’re still intriguing. Below is a very suspenseful tale of underwater terror. And despite what you might read about it, it still feels like a regular horror or thriller, without any supernatural elements. However, I will leave that decision up to you as it’s half the fun. So, you already know what you’re getting yourself into. Cramped spaces inducing heavy claustrophobia, ominous sounds, and finally mass psychosis. The focus is firmly on the characters and their state of mind as they navigate the treacherous waters hiding many dangers.

Unlike so many other submarine movies, Below somehow slipped through the cracks and remains relatively forgotten. We’re here to right that wrong as this is a surprisingly well-crafted and written movie. There will be no plot holes and everything will tie in nicely at the end leaving the viewer satisfied with what he has seen. Right from the start, you will feel that foreboding atmosphere telling you things are about to get tricky. This is amplified by excellent acting and realistic dialogues. Everybody did a great job, including young Zach Galifianakis.

I found the technology of those old submarines fascinating. Their navigation systems along with sensors are so rudimentary yet effective. The same can be said about the arsenal that feels very visceral and quite nasty. I won’t go into details as I want you to have the same thrilling and intense experience I had. And when you think that stuff like this was really happening during the war, it adds another layer to this excellent movie.

I know some of you won’t like the war setting but assure you it’s not intrusive. This is above all a story about us, humans. About our fears, desires and moral standards. And throughout all of this. weird shit will keep happening. Weird shit that will keep you guessing what the fuck is going on and how it’s going to end. The pacing is very deliberate giving us enough time to think and breathe before the next incident.

It is the year of our Lord Satan 1943 and WWII is in full swing. Submarine Tiger Shark was patrolling the Atlantic ocean when it received news of a deadly German attack on a British ship. They quickly locate the wreck and rescue three survivors. However, one of those survivors has a secret he must keep. And soon, strange things start happening on board the submarine as they’re forced to dive deeper and deeper. The question on everyone’s mind is will they reach the safe harbor.

Below features special effects that stood the test of time and still look good. I mean, there were a couple of scenes that were a bit iffy but everything else is great. However, I would like to point your attention to sound design and camera work. Two things that are really important when you’re making a movie like this. They were simply sublime and without any cheap jump scares. The same goes for the lighting, changing the mood very easily as all light sources are artificial.

I just love these small and underrated movies. You play them during the week and wonder how the hell did you miss them in the first place. This one reminded me of a string of eighties underwater movies like DeepStar Six, The Rift and Leviathan. And while those are classic B movies, Below is a completely different beast. It’s subtle, chilling and open to interpretation. Moreover, it features a smart story. It’s funny to think that same year we got a relatively similar but much flashier sea horror Ghost Ship.

Director: David Twohy

Writers: Lucas Sussman, Darren Aronofsky, David Twohy

Cast: Bruce Greenwood, Holt McCallany, Matthew Davis, Jason Flemyng, Olivia Williams, Nick Chinlund

Fun Facts: Some of the scenes were shot on an actual WWII submarine. You can visit the submarine museum in Muskegon, Michigan and see The USS Silversides in person.


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