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Below (2002)

Cast: Bruce Greenwood, Olivia Williams, Holt McCallany, more...
Director: David N. Twohy
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Studio: Dimension
Genre: Ghosts, Seafaring, War
Running Time: 105 min.
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Reflecting studio executives' taste for material that crosses genres, this film from director David Twohy and co-screenwriter Darren Aronofsky mixes the war movie and supernatural thriller genres. After they rescue a trio of survivors that includes a nurse, Claire Page (Olivia Williams), from a British hospital ship sunk by the Nazis, the crew of the American submarine U.S.S. Tiger Shark comes to believe that their vessel is haunted. The unexpected death of their commander forces first officer Lt. Brice (Bruce Greenwood) to take command, trying to avoid a German destroyer on the hunt for his ship, while investigating the series of mysterious incidents that are terrifying his crew. Is the Tiger Shark haunted, or is there something otherworldly inhabiting the waters where the sailors are currently trapped? Originally entitled "Proteus," this project was slated to be Aronofsky's follow-up to Pi (1998), but the writer/director opted to helm Requiem for a Dream (2000) instead. Below co-stars Scott Foley, Zach Galifianakis, Dexter Fletcher, and Holt McCallany. ~ Karl Williams, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Submarines, Scares and a Simply Wonderful Finale by talltale October 21, 2008 - 4:14 PM PDT
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
I've always loved scary movies but rarely enjoy them much anymore so BELOW proved especially satisfying. I also loved director Twohy's PITCH BLACK and thought his THE ARRIVAL was pretty good, too, so that should have clued me in to the possibilities here. The story moves rather slowly but builds nicely--jumping genres from WWII to ghosts in a clever manner. There are so many little surprises along the way--from who's good and who's not to what the hell is going on (and why)--that you will remain interested until the final frame, which manages to combine beauty, sadness and justice in one amazing shot. The cinematography is first-rate, too; I have never seen a more beautifully photographed submarine movie. Bruce Greenwood and the ubiquitous Olivia Williams (THE SIXTH SENSE, THE MAN FROM ELYSIAN FIELDS, THE BODY, RUSHMORE, THE POSTMAN and more!) and the rest of the cast--unknown to me till now--are all excellent. Although reviews of BELOW were generally upbeat, audiences didn't go, and the Weinsteins' Dimension division ended up pulling the movie fast. So take a chance on the DVD.

It sinks. by mignola April 12, 2003 - 9:14 PM PDT
1 out of 4 members found this review helpful
Hollywood rarely knows what to do with its ghosts. The setup here is a good one, that of introducing a supernatural element to the already claustrophobic atmosphere of a WWII submarine, but there are no rules of conduct here; the allegedly creepy moments ring false because there's no reason for them; they're just obvious ghostly effects without justification. The script, acting, and effects? Mediocre. And the editing, designed to build suspense, only makes a muddle of a weak, by-the-numbers story. You want ghosts that'll scare your chestnuts off? Pray for the DVD release of THE INNOCENTS (1961) and THE HAUNTING (1963, not the effects-happy 1999 remake!)

"U-571" meets "Ghost Ship". by Emomovieluver April 9, 2003 - 10:23 AM PDT
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful
Released October of 2002 to a limited theatrical run, "Below" deserves much better treatment because it is an excellent movie. A terrific combination of action and suspence elements with fine performances from an under-rated cast, director Twohy has succeeded in crafting a captivating thriller with memorable characterizations and chilling supernatural elements with a storyline that keeps you guessing. The DVD presentation definitely warrants purchase as there is also one of the best made featurettes I've seen in a long time plus the running audio commentary by director Twohy and the primary cast members is very entertaining. This may be one of the few movies wherein the deleted scenes are mostly dynamic action sequences instead of talky character building exchanges eliminated to allow the movie to retain a more suspenseful atmosphere. Rent right away!

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.23)
91 Votes
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