Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David Twohy|
|Produced by||Darren Aronofsky
|Written by||Lucas Sussman
|Music by||Graeme Revell
|Edited by||Martin Hunter|
|Distributed by||Miramax Films
|Release date(s)||October 11, 2002|
|Running time||105 minutes|
Below is a 2002 World War II horror film directed by David Twohy. It was written by Lucas Sussman, Darren Aronofsky and David Twohy, and stars Bruce Greenwood, Olivia Williams, Matthew Davis, Holt McCallany, Scott Foley, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Flemyng and Dexter Fletcher.
The USS Tiger Shark is a submarine on patrol in the Atlantic Ocean during August 1943. The submarine is ordered to pick up survivors spotted adrift by a British PBY Catalina patrol plane. At the wreck site, they retrieve three survivors — a British nurse and two others, one wounded — from a British hospital ship that was torpedoed several days earlier. As they pick up the survivors the Tiger Shark spots a German warship bearing down on them. The submarine has several encounters with the German warship and suffers damage from depth charges in the process.
Later the commanding officer of the Tiger Shark, Lieutenant Brice (Bruce Greenwood), discovers that the wounded survivor is actually a German POW, Bernard Schillings (Jonathan Hartman). Brice confronts him because he thinks Schillings has been making strange noises to betray their position to the German warship. Brice believes it was an act of sabotage, and shoots Schillings dead when the German panics and grabs a scalpel to defend himself. The crew experiences eerie phenomena seemingly related to the recent death of the previous captain, Lieutenant Commander Winters. According to Brice, Winters was killed trying to obtain a souvenir from a torpedoed German ship; he fell and hit his head while reaching for his souvenir, then drowned before he could be rescued.
Disembodied voices are heard, a series of mechanical problems keeps the submarine turning back towards the site of the sunken German ship, and crewmen are accidentally killed at an alarming rate. They begin to suspect a supernatural influence. Brice's version of how and why Captain Winters died is brought into question.
It is revealed that Brice and two other officers were responsible for the death of Captain Winters, and that the British hospital ship was mistaken for a German ship and was sunk by the Tiger Shark. The three officers could not afford this blot on their records and conspired to suppress the story, killing Captain Winters as he tried to save the wounded in the ocean to make up for his and his crew's drastic mistake. This is discovered after one of the officers is mysteriously killed while working in the ballast tank of the sub, and the other is impaled on an outside railing after trying to escape the boat underwater after seeing Winters' ghost.
The boat is ultimately crippled by the mounting accidents, and only five crew members remain alive: Brice, Odell, Paige, Stumbo, and "Weird" Wally. Brice and Paige face each other down on the surface deck of the disabled submarine. Paige has spotted another ship in the area and tries to get its attention, but Brice holds her at gunpoint. His remorse over the accident overcomes him, and he shoots himself in the head, falling dead into the ocean. The four survivors are picked up by the ship spotted by Paige, which turns out to be British. The Tiger Shark sinks away from the surface, coming to rest on the ocean floor next to the British hospital ship.
- Bruce Greenwood as Lieutenant Brice
- Matthew Davis as Ensign Douglas Odell
- Olivia Williams as Claire Paige
- Holt McCallany as Lieutenant Paul Loomis
- Scott Foley as Lieutenant, Junior Grade Steven Coors
- Zach Galifianakis as "Weird" Wally
- Jason Flemyng as Stumbo
- Dexter Fletcher as Kingsley
- Nick Chinlund as Chief
- Andrew Howard as Hoag
- Christopher Fairbank as Pappy
The film gained an approval rating of 64% on Rotten Tomatoes with 43 out of 65 reviews calling it fresh. Reviewers on Metacritic gave a mixed response with a 55% approval rating based on 20 reviews. Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B+ rating, calling it a "handsome, haunting submarine thriller". Edward Guthmann from the San Francisco Chronicle gave a mainly negative review stating that the dialogue was "heavy on sarcasm and puncturing insults, never captures the World War II period but sounds ridiculously anachronistic". Variety Magazine gave the movie a mixed review stating that "the strenuous seriousness the film applies to an idea that is finally silly at its core steadily increases the impression of overwrought artificiality as matters progress".
- Below at Rotten Tomatoes
- "Below (2002): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-03-16.
- "Below - Movie Review - Entertainment Weekly". Entertainment Weekly. 2002-10-09. Retrieved 2008-03-16.
- Curiel, Jonathan; Guthmann, Edward; Meyer, Carla; Nevius, C.W. (2002-10-18). "FILM CLIPS / Also opening today". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-03-16.
- McCarthy, Todd (2002-10-06). "Below Review - Variety.com". Variety Magazine. Retrieved 2008-03-16.