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A smart, chilling "B" picture.
jojofla20 October 2002
Below (*****) I know what you're thinking. A "B" picture about a haunted submarine? And I think it's the best flick I've seen so far this year? Well, when a "B" picture is this smart, this intricate, this well-made, this damned entertaining, then, yeah, it's the best movie I've seen so far this year.

Here's the set-up: it's 1943 in the North Atlantic, and the U.S.S. Tiger Shark picks up three survivors from a British hospital ship that was torpedoed two days earlier; the discovery that one of the survivors is a German leads to violence; and, then, really weird things start happening, all the while a German cruiser is chasing the sub down. Is a ghost trying to destroy the sub and its crew, or are they just imagining things through convenient coincidences?

Below was written by Lucas Sussman, Darren Aronofsky and the film's director, David N. Twohy; Aronofsky is the smart filmmaker behind the art-house hit Requiem for a Dream, and Twohy has consistently specialized in sophisticated "B" pictures like The Arrival and Pitch Black. Below offers up an intricate storyline that keeps both the characters and the audience guessing--when they and we aren't jumping out of our skins in terror. Twohy's direction is an example of economic brilliance--the flick charges forward, piling on the twists and scares methodically, but never gratuitously--thankfully, this is a horror flick that's more about mood than about gore--indeed, it's less in tune with modern splatterfests than it is an homage to the cerebral Val Lewton thrillers of the 1940s (like The Seventh Victim or Isle of the Dead).

And what mood this movie creates! Ian Wilson's cinematography is vibrant and chilling, and the magnificent special effects never overwhelm the story--except for a final, hauntingly beautiful shot that will linger in your memory for quite awhile.

An added bonus is the cast of smart players: Bruce Greenwood as the sub commander trying to hold his crew and himself together; Matt Davis as the wet-behind-the-ears officer not really accepted by the crew; Olivia Williams as an English nurse who is both suspect and suspicious; and Holt McCallaney as a gruff officer.

It appears that Below is being dumped by its studio, Dimension, with little advertising or fanfare; a shame, really, since it's one of the most sophisticated and highest quality pictures I've seen in quite awhile. [Rated R: Violence, language, brief nudity.]
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Subtle, understated, and effective
coyote1325 October 2002
Periodically I go through fits where I'm convinced that the American public is losing the capacity for thought in entertainment; that 99% of the movie-going public has reached the point where every smallest nuance must be telegraphed as loudly and as blatantly as possible, and any intelligent content must be simplified so it's comprehensible to the lowest common denominator.

Below is not like that.

This is a movie that simultaneously gives one hope (that something this stylish and subtle could be made in 2002), and despair (that the studio has shown so little faith in it that they've cast it adrift without any advertising or backing). Why this hasn't received even one quarter of the attention of Ghost Ship I can't fathom--if you have a choice, go see Below instead.

If you like beautifully photographed, well-thought-out eerie psychological horror films that don't tie everything up in a nice pretty package of explanations in the final shots, and are willing to give the relatively unknown but excellent cast a shot, then by all means hunt this one down.

9 out of 10
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Best ghost movie in quite some years
roddmatsui16 November 2004
This film has its share of fans, and I wanted to chime in.

I thought its visual effects were beautiful and functional throughout--this is a ghost movie, but the ghost effects are subtle, and never stoop to goofy atmospherics. Indeed, the ghost images are only a very small portion of the visual effects platter on display. Most of the wonderful miniatures and digital constructions concern themselves with the reality of the submarine and its adventures. And these numerous shots feature very little showing off--like the very best effects, they are tools to transmit the story, first and foremost. This rigid adhesion to story is visible all around, and it's very clear that cast and crew were solidly focused.

"Below" is a basic ghost mystery story (who is the ghost and what does it want), a type of film that is seldom done nowadays. A good number of these have been done over the years, certainly, and so the subject matter is familiar, but the story details/mechanics of "Below" present it all in a fresh manner. Lots of business for the actors to work with.

It's intricate, and demands attention from its viewers, and this is rewarded by what I think is a very watchable and entertaining ride, thanks in no small part to its great cast and tight direction. Yes! it's scary, possibly one of the most frightening films I've seen in years. I hesitate to call it a "horror" film, because its audience identification characters do their best to see that justice prevails, and eventually they pull the audience out of this hellish experience. This optimism gives the film a quality of fairy-tale parable. But it is certainly a white-knuckle suspense thriller.
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Surprisingly suspenseful and atmospheric supernatural WW2 thriller.
Infofreak14 October 2003
I enjoyed 'Below' a LOT more than I anticipated. It's a very similar movie in theme to the disappointing 'The Bunker', apart from the obvious difference of being set on a submarine of course. But unlike 'The Bunker' this movie has interesting characters that a)you can tell apart, and b) actually care about their fate. The script, direction and acting are all superior, and it's very effective in conveying the tense atmosphere of a sub in WW2, despite not being made on a mega-budget. I like David Twohy's debut 'Pitch Black', and I like 'Below' even more. It's not only a very well made suspense movie, but also a good war one. I hope Twohy fulfills his promise in projects to come.
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Something is just not right on this submarine.
Michael O'Keefe14 September 2003
Sci-Fi escape drama that will have you on the edge of your seat and cracking your knuckles. When a WWII submarine picks up three survivors of an incident in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in 1943, the crew suddenly experiences mysterious doings in the confined space. It appears this boat is doomed from the start. Typical problems for a submarine movie. Pretty good acting from a diverse cast that includes: Bruce Greenwood, Matt Davis, Olivia Williams, Scott Foley and Holt McCallany. Decent enough F/X and sometimes scary story line holds your interest.
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b-picture finesse
raouldobal14 March 2003
If you have seen your share of genre-movies, there will in this movie rarely be an idea that you have not seen, a cut that has not been there already or a character that is completely new - but it´s the mix that counts and this mix came out very right.

If you are on the edge of your seat, you know what is going to happen but nothing has been shown in the first half of the movie and the suspense just keeps on building, I for one know that I am going to enjoy it to the last second.

Oh, and another thing - although there is only 1 woman in the movie, she is neither token, nor does she fall in love or is killed in the classic shower scene, but she actually is given a role to play - bravo. The only little thorn I can think of is, that I could have done without the very few gory (or at least bloodyish) scenes - was not really necessary. A silouette and some shocked expressions do suffice. Go and watch - not a cheap thrill, a good one.
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Best unknown movie of the year so far
fred-28728 October 2002
This was only playing at one cinema in my area (off my usual track) and when I saw it listed in the paper I thought "Wait, how did I miss that?" But it was rated R (always a plus for me; for one thing, an R rating means the F-word gets used at least twice, so it'll have at least that much realism) and I had read somewhere (probably on IMDB) that it was about submarines, so I thought I'd take a crack at it. My venture was well rewarded.

Set during World War II, an American submarine rescues 3 people on a liferaft, one of whom turns out to be a woman, news of which galvanizes the sub's crew, who seem to know every female slang term ("Brillo pad" was new to me). The movie pays tribute to the German "Das Boot," the best submarine flick ever, as the camera goes darting from one passageway to another as the crewmen are introduced. Then some odd things start occurring.

Helping to win me over was the sheer copiousness of period detail with all the 1940s technology used by the crew to run their boat plus their cigarettes, girlie pin-ups, phonograph records, a Yo-Yo, etc. The actors all rang true except for the young idealistic guy. Lots of great claustrophobic atmosphere; limited but effective use of a certain kind of special effect. One needs to pay attention, such as the mirror scene, where you might think "Is that image duplicating what the guy is doing, or not?" Slow but steady heightening of tension and development of otherwordly aspects. Delightful underwater renditions with plankton & manta rays cavorting. Some drawbacks: too much use of flashbacks, some of which may be "false" (Hitchcock used a false flashback once & always regretted it); too much action occurring off-screen, to where it calls attention to itself. There's a central flashback issue that seems to call for an awful lot of expository dialogue, some of which occurs when one would suppose the characters would be engaged with more pressing matters, such as running out of air.

Given how many other recent movies have cost a lot more money, been given much more ballyhoo but have had much weaker plot, characterization and atmosphere, it seems a shame "Below" must rely entirely on word of mouth, or keyboard. I won't claim I was on the "edge of my seat" throughout but I definitely "bought into" the situation. There's a really lovely closing shot, like a shorter & underwater "Koyaanisqatsi," that no one should find overly corny or contrived.

Bottom line: if you can't find this one in a cinema or reach it before it goes away, keep an eye out for video. The studio made a mistake just blowing the movie off, it deserves better.

In one scene we see a seaman with pet fish in a tank, a nice ironic touch.
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A semi-predictable but decent flick
Sabalon13 June 2008
I don't recall this one being released, but it didn't do very well. However it had a very tidy story, some more or less decent acting, and was a visual treat.

The story seems pretty simple - WWII sub picks up a couple survivor, is pursed by a German ship, and then strange things start to happen and some secrets about various crew members are slowly revealed.

This is more of a thriller than a horror movie. While it does contain some jump scenes in it and some spooky goings on, one is left with a feeling of "was it just cabin fever?" As said, visually, this movie looked nice. It somewhat captured the cramped life on a sub and the tense moments they go through. However, some liberties were taken on the set design to provide more room. The class of sub they are on are not nearly as comfy as this would make one think.

Bruce Greenwood gives what I though was a very good performance. The movie can even stand up to a little bit of rewatch as well.
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Was it a ghost or wasn't it?
kraley4 November 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Below was another one of those films that has been 'abandoned' by the studio that created it. It got very little print advertisement and even less exposure on TV and trailers than most "fluff" horror that usually litters the cinemas.

Below has a cast of "I know that guy but I can't remember where I saw him before" types. They all turn in good performances but the lead, Bruce Greenwood, is a bit weak and reminds me of a poor-man's Rod Serling throughout the film. If he had shown a bit more emotion (or enthusiasm) this film may well have ranked among the better thriller/horror movies of the year.

The movie concerns a US sub during World War 2, the U.S.S. Tigershark, that is ordered to go pick up some survivors of a torpedoed hospital ship. Upon their arrival, there are only three survivors left. A woman and two men. If you know anything about naval lore, women on submarines is bad luck and upon the taking on of the survivors, strange things start occurring on the sub.

This film is directed by David Twohy, the same guy who directed Pitch Black. The directing is quite similar and makes for a fairly effective ghost story. The

claustrophobic nature of a submarine works rather well but is largely underused here. The strongest aspect of this film is that when it is over, you can honestly argue that there was an actual ghost or that everything that transpired was only in the minds of the people involved. This is a very impressive feat to be able to effectively pull off in this kind of film. The special effects are subtle and brief but effective at conveying what they are there to convey. There is also an alleged 'twist ending' that will become unfortunately obvious to any fan of the genre within the first twenty minutes.

No nudity. No drugs. Very little harsh language. A little bit of on-screen violence. A few charred or bloody corpses are shown to 'enhance the mood' as it were. I believe the film was rated R but it should have been PG. There is very little in this film beyond the subject matter to justify anything stronger than a PG-13. Lots of frights and more than a few 'cheap jolts'.

As I write this review, Below is already being phased out of theatres. I would encourage fans of psychological horror to catch this one on the big screen rather than wait for DVD if they want to see it. It's a lot more effective as a 'fright film' in a darkened theatre than it will be on a television screen.

If you like psychological horror, then try & catch this one before it leaves the theatres. It is a solid effort, but by no means a classic. It's very much shows the

international-influence in the horror genre though (and shows many similarities to The Ring and even moreso to The Devil's Backbone).

If you are a casual horror fan, you may still enjoy this one quite a bit. Those that don't like scary movies need not enter. At it's heart, Below is simply a tale of revenge from beyond the grave... or its it?
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No spoiler: why I give this 8 out of ten.
MalcolmSouter26 April 2012
So, should you give up a couple of hours and watch this film. If you're one of those people that are happy to chat with everyone around you while watching films or laugh at parts that are meant to be touching or scary, then no. (Okay, don't get me started on that.) If not, you'll enjoy this film, you'll enjoy the acting and you'll enjoy the atmosphere and the tension. I think the 6.? score is to be honest down to people who'd rather watch a documentary on WW II. Yes the submarine seems a bit roomy at times but that doesn't spoil the drama for me. As for the plot, without giving anything away, the sin at the heart of the story grows larger and darker. I won't say any more, just that you'll see some good actors here that have popped up and become more famous 10 years after this film.
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clever, tension-filled horror story
Andrew Sterne30 July 2011
The setting is the Second World, aboard a US submarine. But this is no war film, rather a clever, tension-filled horror story. Its claustrophobic atmosphere is a perfect setting for this haunted house themed horror. There are elements of "Alien" in that the interior is slightly grimy and the crew are tetchy, uncouth and sometimes unkind to each other – being as they are, at such close quarters. Most of the actors are lesser known stars, adding to the tension – you're not really sure who the good guys are.

The periscope, the crews only view of the sea above, ads to the eerie atmosphere – A battleship looms into regular, horrifying view, seemingly remorseless in its pursuit. Additional creepiness is never seeing the battleship's crew. It appears a living entity, the submarine its prey. Its horrid arsenal of depth charges and hooks never seemed so terrifyingly awful in its usage before.

I will not give away the plot or plots – there are many interweaving elements, seemingly unconnected, and it does get complicated at times. But it does make sense if you watch it more than once - as I had to. Anyway, I think it is a cracking good film and thoroughly recommend it.
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Try not to fraternise with the men. They can be a little... strange.
Spikeopath8 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Below is directed by David Twohy and C0-written by Lucas Sussman, Twohy and Darren Aronofsky. It stars Bruce Greenwood, Olivia Williams, Matthew Davis, Holt McCallany, Scott Foley, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Flemyng, Nick Chinlund & Dexter Fletcher.

1943 and The USS Tiger Shark submarine is patrolling the Atlantic Ocean. After taking on board three survivors of a wreckage and a battle with a German warship, mysterious things start to happen on board the sub....

It wouldn't be the first or last time that they did it, but Dimension Films failed to support a rather good horror film in their care. Coming a few months after Harrison Ford submarine thriller K-19: The Widowmaker sank without grace, Below was barely given a release or publicity junket to give it a chance. Which considering that $40 million was given to produce it comes off as mighty strange. More so when one looks at the credentials on offer. A cast featuring fine character actors from Britain & America, directed by the man who was hot from the popular Pitch Black and a certain Darren Aronofsky involved in the writing. OK, so admittedly a haunted submarine premise on the surface doesn't sound too demanding on the cerebral front, but this is much more than an underwater spooker.

Below gets all the key ingredients right for such a genre production. It's intensively tight in claustrophobic atmosphere, creepy in narrative, adroit with the kill dispatches and crucially pays off with the big reveal. It also has some great underwater sequences to sample as the cast do justice to the smart script. True it's a little derivative of similar themed film's like The Keep, The Bunker et all, but what it lacks in freshness it more than makes up for in slick story telling. Also of note is that Twohy and his co-writers are aware enough to know that their story has to be a bit more than just another Rod Serlingesque tale. At the hour mark the characters even bring this into play with a wonderful discussion that richly subverts our expectations of where we are going with this movie.

With its metallic blue tints (Ian Wilson on cinematography) aiding the feel of submarine life, we the audience are thrust into the confines of sub life as well. This really is a film that asks us to turn off the lights, switch the phone off and invest your very being into the story. Be part of this crew and the rewards are there to be had for the ghostly movie seeker. Cast wise Greenwood is classy as usual, and Williams refuses to let her character be the token it could have been. In support it's always good to see Chinlund & Flemyng performing, while Galifianakis delivers the goods in the colourful part.

With visual smarts and a knowing sense of dread, Twohy's film is on the money. It may not be breaking new ground in the genre it sits in, but it's certainly one of the better told, and produced, of said genre stories. 7.5/10
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Why have I not heard of this?
pageiv26 December 2007
OK, I wrote a long review a couple days ago but forgot to submit it, "D'OH!" I saw this on AMC, and being a big fan of horror, or thriller, or military movies I was surprised I hadn't seen this before. It maintain all elements of those genres, which may explain the low vote here on IMDb. I would say that's why I liked the movie, originality is in short supply these days.

You can read the synopsis of the movie on this site so I wont waste your time. The hits on the SFX are really off base, though not U-571 quality, they are believable (I have family that say Star Wars SFX don't look real). Acting is solid, not award winning so if that's the standard then they fail for you.

The movie is truly unique and entertaining and I only hope cable channels show it often to get it out there for people to enjoy.
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One of the best British films never to be shown here!!
I will start with my only criticism - that of the genre change half-way from wartime thriller to ghost story I found a bit much as we were all expecting one of the characters to turn out as a German saboteur. The cinematography by Ian Wilson was excellent and was combined well with the CGI work (the underwater sub looked so real), the above-water sub being done in the 007 tank at Pinewood. Along with Ian Wilson for cinematography, I personally would also nominate it for a BAFTA (of which I am a member) in both Sound and Editing categories, if it was submitted, the latter being particularly slick. We (about 50 of us, including many BSC members) leapt out of our seats at certain points. You were really there, suffering with the crew. It is only tragic that because the bosses would prefer to change it into a horror movie that it will never be released in the UK, so sadly Brits will never see one of the great British films, although the Union flag shown in the end shot should have been a Red Ensign, but then nothing is perfect!
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Balances on a knife's edge
fung014 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I love submarine movies, but normally hate "is-it-or-isn't-it" ghost stories. But David Twohy, one of the best writers and directors working in Hollywood, manages to fuse the two perfectly.

On the one hand, this is a really good submarine movie, with all the usual stuff: the claustrophobic tin-can environment; the grimy, nerve-wracked sailors; the underwater cat-and-mouse battles. Next to Das Boot, Below has about the best feel of any movie for that dank, miserable life. The approach is admittedly slicker, more cinematic, where Das Boot is grittier, more akin to documentary. But both films are many fathoms better than the nearest runners up, like Run Silent Run Deep.

The characters are well chosen. No one seems uniformly admirable, or whole-heartedly evil. These are people with plenty of faults, but all the more likable for that. There are no 'heroes' in this boat, just a lot of scared people trying to do the 'right' thing. Even when the technical feasibility and the moral 'rightness' of their actions are very difficult to determine. As in Pitch Black, Twohy brings together a splendid cast of over-achieving non-stars, actors who really deserve greater acclaim.

Below is also a ghost story. Or maybe it isn't. The submarine definitely IS haunted... but is it haunted only by the conscience of its crewmen, or by 'real' ghosts? Twohy keeps you guessing. If you don't like that sort of tension, you'll certainly find Below hard to take. Personally, I tend to hate it... but here, for once, I found it strangely compelling: maybe because I felt that Twohy was with me all the way, not simply taunting me, but himself embracing that same uncertainty.

Below probably drew a fair bit of criticism by frustrating movie-goers' expectations. It's not Friday the 13th underwater; nor Saving Private Ryan underwater; nor even Pitch Black underwater. While the advance billing may have suggested otherwise, Below is a far more delicate and subtle film than any of those. It's a genre-buster for sure, but if you give it a chance, it actually does work on every level: as adventure, as whodunit, as war story, and as ghost story.

And in the end (not really a spoiler), it achieves something quite remarkable: it leaves the natural-vs-supernatural question *perfectly* ambiguous, balanced on the same knife's-edge as it was at the start. And thereby suggests that maybe a ghost that's 'real' in your mind is plenty 'real' enough.
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A highly unappreciated film
Gideon403 November 2002
Warning: Spoilers
A lot of the negative reviews said things that were too general like 'the story was unbelievable, the acting was bad, it wasn't scary'. They didn't even explain WHY. Well, I'm going to explain why I think this movie is good.

Instead of being a special effects horror movie that deals with gore and hidious ghosts and monsters, Below focusses more on the paranoia and delusion the men suffer when the submarine begins to haunt them. There are many tense moments where a character is alone in a room with absolutely no noise, which usually amounts to either nothing, or a big shock. The ghost scenes are great too, SPOILERS with the voice that speaks to Stumbo, and my favorite: the mirror which lags its reflections END OF SPOILER. Many of the strange occurences need no explanation, and they don't have any scientific reasoning to them, and it is these things that drive the men crazy. Nobody is attacked by a ghost or monster, but rather many of the mens' deaths are a result of their own friends' mistakes which themselves are a result of the paranoia. The acting is spot on. Lt. Bryce is portrayed very well as the dynamic character who undergoes a character change as the truth of the strange occurences are slowly revealed. O Dell is the calm and collected hero who keeps the men sane, and Whiskey(or whatever his name is) is the comic relief and at the same time subject to many tense moments. I don't know what the people who hated this movie were expecting, because while these certainly are not oscar quality acting, they are believable and suitable for this kind of movie because the actors effectively portrayed the fear and trauma their characters go through. The direction is good as well. There are a lot of blue and black shades of color in all the scenes that are about 60 percent past the movie, which shows the grimness of the situation when they don't even have power to run the lights. The camera angles don't show a character standing in one corner of the screen and a large portion of the background filling the rest up, which implies that something shocking is going to happen to that background. Instead the angles center themselves on the characters in question and usually are very unpredictable in scenes where something frightening is going to happen. They also give a better sense of claustraphobia with their tight views as opposed to a view that shows a large part of the sub. The story is very intruiging, the largest portion of it devoted to the haunted sub playing mental tricks on them, with intervals of plot development put in between most scenes. The overall conclusion of this film is great.

BIG SPOILERS I didn't find the conclusion 'unbelievable', because it made sense as to why the ghost was haunting them. The superior officers betrayed the captain to stop him from rescuing the accidentally attacked civilians, and for that he takes vengeance on them as a ghost when the civilians board the sub.END OF BIG SPOILERS

Overall, Below is a good thriller that focusses less on the gore and action, and more on the suspense and paranoia. The acting is good, the direction gives good claustraphobic camera angles and a great sense of fear, and the story is interesting but not unbelievable. I don't believe 'Ghost Ship' is getting more viewership than this. If you havn't seen either film, Below is the better choice unless you are one of those people looking for an ultraviolent pop corn flick chock full of violence.
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Seen It All Before
Theo Robertson6 January 2005
I've never understood the cross genre concept of mixing a horror movie into a war film . I did like THE KEEP mainly due to the art house flourishes ( One of the things people detested about Michael Mann's adaptation ) but have so far missed out on seeing THE BUNKER and DEATHWATCH . I guess the appeal to film makers is that it's easy to kick start a story of having a bunch of soldiers turn up at a deserted locale where they find a demonic force trying to kill them one by one which isn't a million miles away from the plot of say PREDATOR or DOG SOLDIERS . But when you stop to consider the horrors of war do we need supernatural elements to horrify an audience ?

BELOW is somewhat different from the films mentioned above because it does somewhat lack a sense of time and space . The American submarine where the story is set could easily have been set on a spaceship in the future and to be honest the movie does feel very similar to EVENT HORIZON . There's little gore involved from director David Twohey which is a both a good and bad thing since he doesn't use the gimmick of explict violence to shock the audience but makes the film a bit too talky for its own good

BELOW can probably be summed up in thus - If you liked EVENT HORIZON you will like BELOW . If you thought DAS BOOT was terrifying without any supernatural elements you probably won't like BELOW
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An underrated film
mrmac-12 October 2010
Much underrated (although you don't trust me, I spent a few years on the planet, and am very picky). Truly great scary story. So I came back to edit, and it is to say that this story is, rhyme, understated. Film is your bedtime story come to life. Film is an eclectic medium, taking from all the arts except perhaps the tactile, and who knows how long before we will be able to feel the story physically by literally touching it.

"Below" is rather poetic, in the sense that it presents a "normal" war story in the context of what war signifies, its meaning and affect on us, yet places the characters in a situation that does not involve war as much as it does the simple unknowns of life. The demon, the ghost here, might very well be the "enemy," in this case the Germans, yet the art is in using this as a metaphor for our process of dealing with felt generalized fear. Of each other, of chaos, of death, of the devil, of God, of candy, slugs, spiders? Up to you. Still, I think, it is always what we think of as our demise, death.

But "physical" isn't currently the question. This film has elements of Hitchcock, in that it provides an invitation to look into the mirror that reflects back our emotional life, and asks each of us to make our own decisions. And because of the supernatural/paranormal elements, it touches on what I perceive as something spiritual. Bottom line, it involves us in the character and experiences of the players.

War, ghosts, a presence, an intimation, sensitivity, a sense. We do have a problem with death, many of us. This story is about dying in a can, that is, what they tell us about all these things, death, how to do this or that, like live one's life, failed relationships, wanting to do more than you think you are doing, or survival outside, or rather, no matter what your situation, whether you're sinking or floating or on solid earth, you will be asked, at some point, and like the characters in this story, to make a simple "yes" or "no" decision as to how much you appreciate life. It involves that leap of faith that we, some of us, hope to make, amidst a bit of doubt and sadness, and some appreciation of life.

Very well filmed, quite well acted, an intriguing and expansive story. It is a bit dark, but that's what leads us to the light.

Think about how much you judge.

Greg Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (home, btw, of the first nickelodeon theater)
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Really Really GOOD !!!
skw6668 March 2003
i will just say 10 Times better than Ghost Ship if you ware Disappointed by Ghost ship then watch this . You won't be on this Movie it is really Scary. I gave it 10/10 Because it Delivers something New i mean have we ever seen a haunted Sub Marine ship before NO this one is and its Really P***ed Of :)
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War thriller - 10/10. Horror - 0/10. Average: 5/10. The dumbest most unuseful and unnecessary use of a ghost in the history of cinema...
Nitzan Havoc18 October 2012
Well, to be honest, I was going to qualify this film as a combination of U-571 and Ghost Ship. Then I saw the cover picture bearing a review stating "U-571 meets Poltergeist" and realized that wouldn't be too original...

It's WWII, and the US Sub is lively and excited due to 3 survivors picked up for a shipwreck, one of whom is a female British doctor. Some of the crew is thrilled and edgy about seeing a woman for the first time in weeks, maybe months. Others are aware of sea folklore and believe a woman on a boat is bad luck.

The story was absolutely brilliant in my opinion, the thrill and suspense were of the highest level, and the twist was surprising and well presented. The acting was persuasive and honest, and during the entire film I found myself at the edge of my seat, fearing for the lives of the Sub's crew as mechanical problems stacked up.

And then they had to destroy what might have been a great film by forcibly, bluntly and stupidly shoving a ghost into it. I mean... why? Honestly, why? In order for DVD libraries to be able to tag this film as horror? What was so important about that?! This could have been an excellent war/psychological thriller film, with an excellent story, a surprising twist, and good acting. Adding the whole ghost part was like taking that kids' puzzle with the shapes, putting the square peg in the triangle hole, and hammering it till the entire thing broke. That simply ruined the film for me, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

In summary - an excellent war thriller. Forcing it into the horror genre ruined it. I'd still recommend it, if you could be forgiving. I wouldn't blame you if you weren't.
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Another ghost story
The_Void27 January 2005
Below is a film of two halves. On the one hand, it's a very well directed movie, with some brilliant horror sequences, camera angles and a claustrophobic atmosphere that will make many horror fans foam at the mouth. However, on the other hand it's just another lame ghost story that unfortunately lacks both the invention and the intrigue that it needs to make it a complete horror package. The story is predictable, and basically follows the same path that a hundred ghost stories before it have followed - i.e. man is killed and comes back to haunt those who wronged him. There is an element of originality in the way that the film climaxes ambiguously, but the originality is strewn from it due to the fact that these sorts of twists have become very predictable of late. Cheers, M Night Shyamalan.

The story takes place on a World War Two submarine. After finding survivors from another, less fortunate ship, the captain of our ship decides to let them board. We begin a voyage of discovery as certain events transpire and the crew begin to believe that their submarine is haunted. This is a film that needs to be followed in order to fully understand the story, and so people that are tired or just fancy seeing something easy should find something else to watch. The fact that the story is rather difficult to follow hampers the film in the end, however, as when we discover the mystery behind what's been going on, it's a disappointment to say the least. Below also suffers from a rather turgid script, which is riddled with clichés and dull one-liners to deliver the action. The characters are neither believable nor interesting, which doesn't do the film any favours either. It's saving grace is, as mentioned, the directing. David Twohy directs out attention through numerous angles, all of which help to instill the idea that we're on a submarine in the viewer's mind. The special effects are somewhat hokey, but numerous scenes impress; most notably the part where our hero's find themselves in the middle of a bunch of Manta Rays.

If you're a film fan that likes your ghost films to have an interesting story, try The Devil's Backbone instead. If you like technical prowess, you could do a lot worse.
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An suspenseful, World War 2 thriller with an hint of the supernatural.
Lucien Lessard17 September 2007
In the dark water of the sea during World War 2, the crew of the submarine U.S.S. Tiger Shock (Lead by Bruce Greenwood) are on an routine mission and they have to hide from the enemies. Which the Germans are restlessly pursuing the submarine. When they received an message to rescue Three Passengers. Who lost their rescue/medical boat. Once they found them, there's tension on the crew. Since there's an woman on board, which it's usually bad luck on the submarine. When an young wet behind the ears rebellious ensign O'Dell (Matthew Davis) noticed, they something strange between between Brice (Greenwood), Loomis (Holt McCallany) and Coors (Scott Foley). Which the first captain (Nick Hobbs) of the submarine died mysteriously. An dark secret is kept between them, since the survivors are on board. There's strange, odd things happens on the submarine and some of the crew members are hearing or seeing things are not possible. While the outspoken female survivor (Olivia Williams) starts to question of what happen to her ship and some of the submarine crew members are not what they seems to be.

Directed by David Twohy (The Arrival, Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Riddick) made an creepy, mysterious, world war 2 thriller that mixes supernatural theme with the paranoia surprisingly well in this film. This an well made film with strong performances by an top cast, ambitious CGI effects and some genuine scares. Twohy certainly had an tight budget making this film and he manages to pull it off quite well. Although Dimension Films didn't really give this film an chance and it had an limited theatrical release instead back in the fall of 2002.

DVD has an sharp anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1) transfer and an strong-Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. DVD has an director commentary with several of the cast members, deleted scenes with optional commentary by the director and an featurette. Nothing is certain in this flawed but fascinating creepy submarine thriller. It's thinly plotted to be sure but this is an imaginative overlooked picture as well. Written by Lucus Sussman, Darren Aronofsky (The Fountain, Pi, Requiem for a Dream) and director:Twohy. Don't miss this Top Grade B Movie. (****/*****).
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Ghost story on a sub
pluce1725 January 2007
I'm starting to really become a fan of David Twohy's work (with the exception of Chronicles of Riddick which I'll blame on having too BIG a budget). Twohy really seems to be at his best when limited budgets force him to be creative. BELOW is no exception.

Below marries too of my favorite genres - Submarine flicks and ghost stories. And just like Pitch Black and The Arrival, the cast is essentially trapped in a situation and they've got to stick together if they're going to make it out alive.

The movie's strength really lies in the situation and many of the creepy moments or 'trailer shots' that Twohy can seemingly pull out of his sleeve.

Basically, if you've seen Pitch Black and The Arrival (or even something like Guillermo Del Toro's The Devil's Backbone) you'll enjoy Below.
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You can keep your lame big budget action flicks. I want to see more like this one.
lingh0e18 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
After reading many other reviews of this movie, the consensus seems to be that it's a very well made movie that is lacking in a few areas... specifically the ghost/horror portion. I really don't find this to be a weakness at all. There is no denial that a lot of bad things happened on that boat, and that a lot of it seemed to be tied to some very supernatural elements. However, it was never really 100% confirmed that it was all the doing of a vengeful spirit or spirits. There were several points in the movie where one or two of the more rational characters claimed that they were simply the victims of mechanical problems (an understandable result of a nasty run in with a few dozen depth charges and drag hooks), breathing too much ozone and CO2, stress and large amounts of guilt. In fact, I believe the last line of the movie is the most ambiguous, bringing everything back into question before it fades to black.

All that aside, this is a great movie from start to finish. It's highly atmospheric, very well paced, and the acting/directing is impeccable. This one should be in the library of anyone who enjoys a really nicely done suspense/thriller/horror flick.
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