In Below, the crew aboard the USS Tiger Shark submarine rescues three survivors of a torpedoed British hospital ship. One happens to be a lady and her presence aboard the sub provokes an impromptu synonym contest. Everyone on board has a name for the pretty British nurse: Philly and Bleeder get one mention apiece but, curiously, no Bazonga. For Darren Aronofsky, Lucas Sussman and David N. Twohy, there’s an excuse for this kind of knee-jerk sexism. It’s 1940-something and the men aboard Tiger Shark are horny and taking out their frustrations against Germany. Soon after their captain goes down-without-his-ship, strange happenings aboard the sub lead the crew to believe that hoodoo is at work. Benny Goodman’s “Sing, Sing, Sing” is put to good use but Twohy’s scary tricks lose their luster when Below turns out to be a water-logged version of every haunted house film you’ve ever seen. Twohy is an expert mood setter but he bum rushes some of the film’s better scenes with overeager sound cues. When four crewmembers swim outside the sub in order to repair a hole in its side, the scene starts promisingly enough with a surprise attack from a group of would-be-sharks. Fans of the director’s Pitch Black will blush, though, when they see the divers jumping and jittering to Graeme Revell’s score. While Matthew Lillard is nowhere to be found, one must wonder what kind of movies were playing back in the ‘40s when the sub’s crew begins to assess their situation using Kevin Williamson’s PoMo guide to the horror film. One crewmember thinks his mates are ghosts while another stupidly references the prior scene’s really “good twist.” Aronofsky, you know better than this.
- David N. Twohy
- Darren Aronofsky, Lucas Sussman, David N. Twohy
- Bruce Greenwood, Nick Chinlund, Alexis Conran, David Crow, Matthew Davis, Dexter Fletcher, Scott Foley, Zach Galifianakis, Olivia Williams
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