Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Movie Appraisal: Below (2002)

What a strange movie. I'm not entirely certain how I should review Below. Should I review it as a World War II movie? A submarine movie? A horror movie? A psychological horror movie? A ghost movie? Or some combination of all of those? I just don't know. I don't know what genre this movie is trying to be besides regular creepy.

Below reminds me of Event Horizon in many ways, except it's not even close to as good and is a bit more psychological in some aspects. I don't think it's a bad film per se, but it isn't a great film either. The acting shouldn't even be talked about. The characters were forgettable. The plot was a bit ridiculous. The horror wasn't fantastic (although it was decent), and the best thing this movie had going for it was the claustrophobia.

As a World War II movie, this one has just enough of that era's plot to get by. Honestly though, I can see a movie like this taking place during any era. The few parts that are really World War II era specific aren't done incredibly well. I like the era talk and what I'm supposed to believe are the era's clothing, but besides that this movie really has nothing to do with the era it supposedly is in.

As a submarine movie, it's not a bad flick, showing the claustrophobia and nervousness in such tight quarters. I actually think that the claustrophobic elements in the film are the best things in the film. Most of the imagery involving the limited space is quite well done.

This movie is not really a horror movie. Oh, it has elements of horror, but it's more a thriller... and even that is being generous. It does have a jump scare from time to time and it wants you to believe it's building up the scares for the climax, but it's not. It's just playing games and pretending to be something it isn't. Sad really.

Psychological horror? Ha! This is weaksauce psychological thriller material at absolute best. This is the kind of film that would make Jacob's Ladder laugh with rage! Anybody who even compares this film with a gem like Jacob's Ladder is confused and probably insane.

I guess there are ghosts? I don't really know... It's never explained, which is fine, but it's also not done well which isn't fine at all. I do like the banging coming from outside the submarine. I thought the sounds were very well done, but the imagery really does leave something to be desired. As a horror film it falls apart, but I think it would stand up fairly well if it were a creepy radio drama. As I said, the sounds are actually fantastic.

This is not a great film and I don't have much to say about it. It's decent, but there are so many better films out there... why would somebody watch this over any other given movie? Hell, I only watched this because I was going to watch and review The Beyond by Lucio Fulci and I couldn't because my television was in use. So, I had to freaking settles for watching this on my laptop. Yeah. That's my story for watching this piece of crap movie... Anyway, it's not unwatchable, just not great. Watch it in the background while you're doing something else and you'll have much more fun than if you're watching it.

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