September 29, 2011

Below (2002)

"In the dark silence of the sea during World War II, the submarine U.S.S. Tiger Shark prowls on what should be a routine rescue mission. But for the shell-shocked crew, trapped together in the sub's narrow corridors and constricted spaces, this is about to become a journey into the sensory delusions, mental deceptions and runaway fear that lurk just below the surface of the ocean and deep inside the human psyche."

Ignore that hyperbole, "Below" is just a predictable ghost story set on a WW2 submarine.

I enjoyed it in places because it reminded me of the true ghost story (that scared me when I first read it in the 1974 Lion annual) about the German u-boat ub-65. You can read the story here.

But, it wasn't really as scary as that story and relied a bit too heavily on CGI for my liking. Even the submarine itself was just CGI. It was well done but you can always tell. Experts have noted that the submarine itself is too big for the time period. I have no idea about such things myself and don't think it matters all that much.

A submarine full of men doesn't really do a lot for me anyway. I didn't really fancy Olivia Williams as "Claire" the doctor (though in real life I think I might) and I hate the sight of Dexter Fletcher in anything. At least he did his own accent this time and didn't try to do a fake American one again like so many of the rest of the cast.

They are all established actors in film so, for once, I don't have to worry about mentioning their acting ability. Oh, go on then, I will. They were about as average as could be expected with the subject matter but were no worse than a typical episode of "Eastenders". The whole thing reeks of expensive "Made for TV" movie though.

The story was quite entertaining, the camerawork and sound were really good, but I started to get bored with it towards the end. The film just didn't sustain tension or excitement long enough to be described as "tense" or "exciting" although there were one or two good moments. It wasn't particularly gory either apart from some gruesome aftermath scenes.

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