It was the 1999. A young filmmaker has finished writing a submarine horror/thriller film. He is ready to turn the script into a film as his second Directorial effort. Instead, he will direct Requiem for a Dream, which will be held in high regard by many. This young filmmaker was named Darren Aronofsky and that film was called "Below." Instead, the script lied around until it was picked up by director David Twohy, and after a few re-writes, the film began production, modestly budgeted, with a very unknown at the time cast. Then as the film was ready to come out, it was uncerimonisoly dumped by the sudio. What, a film distributed by the Weinstein was crapped upon and sent out into the wild to breed? Shocking, I know. The result was a gross of six-hundered THOUSAND dollars. It was subsequently forgotten and now lives on Netflix Watch Instantly. So, is it any good?
The description of "horror film" doesn't exactly apply here. Below may seem cut and dry, and in some ways it is, but it's actually a mood-driven mystery thriller film set in a submarine, with some supernatural elements. Essentially, a submarine on the tail-end of its mission, the crew weary and on edge as all get out, picks up three Brits they were ordered to assist from a wreak, one of whom turns out to be a Nazi, who the crew quickly eliminates. It's about this point, unrelated to the Nazi mind you, that weird stuff starts happening. The crew starts seeing things, hearing voices, and the sub suffers a series of mechanical setbacks, all while the sub is being stalked by a German ship. Did I also mention that the Captain only recently became the Captain of the sub after the mysterious death of the old Captain.
Like I said, most of the film is based on mood. As the movie goes on, as the bad things start mounting, and the crew becomes increasingly paranoid, the mood just gets more and more dire. Plus, it's set in a sub, and the mood that comes from that is great. Sure, people die, and there is a little violence/gore, but the film is overall VERY minimalistic. The most grusome death shown is a guy swimming outside the sub without scuba gear on the bottom of the ocean, where the pressure kind of expands him. Also, a guy gets a hammer stuck in his face I think, but it's really brief. Nope. The mood is why you should watch this movie.
Also, the cast is pretty good considering how no-name most of them are, expecially in 2002. Zach Galifinakis is here in a somewhat substancial role (you can certainly reconize him from the beard), Scott Foley from TV's "The Unit," Holt McCallany from the recent movie "The Losers," Olivia Williams from various stuff (although she's the worst character of the film since she has a lot of annoying moments), Matthew Davis (who is actually pretty decent as the lead of the film) who played Warner from the film "Legally Blonde," and of course, you have the great Bruce Greenwood being Bruce Greenwood. This is actually one of the more villainous roles for him, but he's perfectly fine, even though he's part of a reveal and last 10 minutes I just didn't really care for.
Overall, Below is certainly a film worth checking out. It plays with minimalistic horror a lot, and it strikes a very compelling mood, anchored (See what I did there?) by a suprisingly decent cast and script. It's not brilliant by any means, but it's certainly better than you'll expect it to be.