Wednesday, October 19, 2016

31 Days of Halloween 2016: The Ones Below

2015, David Farr -- download

Family horror; specifically child rearing horror. At least with religious based horror, I have a Catholic background that can contribute to understanding it. But, much to my mother's chagrin, I am not having kids and don't really connect to the whole "we are having a baby, it's so beautiful" mindset. I get it, I am not against having kids, I just don't have the emotional connection and this movie was one of those that almost immediately drew upon it. Kate (Clémence Poésy) and Justin (Stephen Campbell Moore) live in London, and are having a baby. Jon (the Governor himself, David Morrissey) and Theresa (Laura Birn) move into the flat below them. They are also having a baby.

Societal comments are my favourite details of horror movies. If the family in The Conjuring 2 couldn't leave their London home because they were poor, the families here have no such issues. These flats are incredible, and Jon & Theresa begin their connection to the story by renovating and landscaping the charming residence into something immediately creepy pastel. Seriously, the manicured lawn and precise angles at which they place the sunbathing chair in the back yard are something out vector-based advertising art -- think isometric art. Meanwhile, Kate & Justin are typically overworked, schlubby but look comfortable and charming. You can guess who I side with, who are meant to side with. And immediately judging happens between the two couples.

The horror begins almost immediately with a clash of the lifestyles, which unfortunately culminates in Theresa losing the baby. Jon's nightmarish reaction only solidifies our opinion of him; but can you blame him? Months later, Kate has had her little Peter and the downstairs couple return from their recovery to make amends and recover the friendship.

At this point you know where the movie is going to go. All the clues are there. It's now just the journey. Tension. Suspicion. It is meant to elicit the greatest horror from those who recently had children or are about to. But still, the movie is handled skillfully enough so that even I could feel the chill as to what was coming.

What, you may ask? I spoil everything else almost immediately? You should guess by now -- one couple - the creepy couple - lost their baby, and one couple - the ones we like - are happy with their new son. It's a thriller / horror. But at least Peter will grow up happy.