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The Baltimore Sun

Movie review, 'Below'

Tribune staff reporter

"Below" is a genre-splicing ghost story set on a submarine during World War II. Combining the natural claustrophobia of submarine life with the whispered promise of a watery grave, director David Twohy ("Pitch Black") brings his ocean of souls to a slow boil.

When an U.S. submarine picks up survivors (Olivia Williams, Dexter Fletcher) from a downed British medical ship, secrets start to unravel.

Bruce Greenwood, following up his fine-tuned performance as John F. Kennedy in "Thirteen Days," plays Lt. Brice, acting submarine commander since his captain's mysterious death. Fresh-faced Matthew Davis ("Legally Blonde") gives us someone to root for in Capt. Douglas O'Dell, the new man on board who suspects they aren't alone beneath the waves.

Twohy's script, co-written with "Requiem for a Dream's" Darren Aronofsky and Lucas Sussman, follows as many horror conventions as it defies, echoing DC Comics' classic "Weird War Tales." Lamps burn out on cue, landing the sub smack dab into haunted house territory - but the clang of a dud depth charge bouncing against the hull delivers just as big a scare. Whether it's the spreading bloodstain from a bundled corpse or a mirror that reflects a character's fraying sanity, Twohy pulls all the strings to create an inventive genre piece.

3 stars (out of 4) "Below"
Directed by David Twohy; written by Lucas Sussman, Darren Aronofsky, Twohy; cinematography by Ian Wilson; music by Graeme Revell. A Dimension Films release; opens Friday, Oct. 18. Running time: 1:44. MPAA rating: R (language, some violence). Robert K. Elder is a Tribune staff writer.

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