This film feels like something that got hacked apart by the studio after the director walked off in a huff when the executive producer wouldn't give him a million dollars to film a school of dolphins having a laser-cannon fight or take one of those little ships (like in "Titanic") and have it explode in a ball of flame at the bottom of the ocean.
In reality, however, I think director David ("Pitch Black") Twohy had no such thing happen to his film. He just sucks as a director. "Below" tries to be something like "Das Boot" meets "Casper," except that Casper isn't a friendly ghost at all. He's a mean ghost and he causes trouble.
The opening of the film seems more like the middle of the film, but I guess that's what Twohy calls "getting to the point." A World War II submarine commanded by Lt. Brice (Bruce Greenwood) picks up three survivors of a destroyed medical ship. One of the survivors is a woman (Olivia Williams) who, given that she's now the only woman on board, is expected to cause more trouble than a nude statue at the Justice Department. While she doesn't cause any trouble herself, weird things soon start happening aboard the sub. There are inexplicable deaths. There are odd sounds.
From here, the film turns into something like "The Caine Mutiny" meets "Poltergeist" if both those films were exceptionally bad and boring. There's obviously a reason this movie didn't do well in the theaters: Almost all of it resembles something any moviegoer has probably seen parts of dozens of times. It's so derivative, it causes déja vu.
To spread the word about this Below review on Twitter.To get instant updates of Mr. Cranky reviews, subscribe to our RSS feed.