Friday, October 5, 2012

Days of Halloween Redux: Below

2002, David Twohy (Pitch Black, A Perfect Getaway) -- download

Going into this movie, I swear I had seen it before.  Being a big fan of Pitch Black I am pretty convinced I would have seen the movie straight away but I cannot recall when or how I would have seen it.  It would have been here in Toronto but could have been on DVD years after.  Strange how such thoughts escape one, especially since I was again (???) pretty favourable about the flick.  Its a great ghost story inside a submarine during WWII starring a boatload (rimshot) of familiar faces and penned by Twohy and Darren Aronofsky... oh, and Lucas Sussman.  Its creepy, atmospheric and does a pretty good job with the imposed claustrophobia of a submarine, without making it the main focus.

A US submarine is on patrol in the Atlantic when ordered to pick up survivors, seen floating in the ocean by a spotter plane.  In the water we have a british sailor, another severely wounded sailor and a woman.  You must know how unlucky it was to have a woman onboard a submarine in WWII, especially Hollywood WWII so almost immediately a sense of distrust emerges about her arrival.  The fact that the severely wounded sailor is German, doesn't endear her to the crew or captain.  And then the spooky voices, shadowy figures and the occasional attack by a German ship begin to whittle down the crew count and the crew nerves.  Do we have a ghost or paranoia?  A ghost of course, but why the ghost is the better part of the plot.

Seriously though, it is the cast that makes this movie.  We have Bruce Greenwood as Capt Brice.  We have Nick Chinlund, scene as a thousand bad guys on TV, as the boat chief.  We have Dexter Fletcher who I loved in Band of Brothers and we have Holt McCallany, another bad guy from dozens of TV shows.  And hiding in there amongst the familiar TV cast and crew is the beard of Zach Galifianakis!  All these very capable character actors (and more!) get together with Olivia Williams (Six Sense, Dollhouse) and do a wonderfully creepy ghost revenge story that dispenses with the "x has to die because they are y" cliches and just has things move the plot along.  Rare.

P.S. I am still not sure if I had seen it before.  But I still feel like I did.