July 20, 2004

Scare Yourself Chilly

It's hot these days in Seattle - that's right, we said HOT. While Seattle Maggie knows that she would probably be instantaneously reduced to a puddle of goo by one tiny whiff of NYC summertime humidity, the fact that the temperature hovers in the 80s is enough to make her droopy with heat. While we have been reduced to periodically sticking our head in the freezer and going to sleep splayed out on the floor like a water buffalo, nothing beats the heat like a little shiver up the spine.

below.bmpWhile surfing our beloved Encore channels, we came across Below, a good old-fashioned supernatural thriller. While we were originally drawn to it from catching a glimpse of Scott Foley in the previews, aka Noel from Felicity (yes, once again, the WB rears its perfectly coiffed head), we were pleasantly surprised to find a gripping story and one or two inadvertent yelps of surprise. Below takes place on the American submarine USS Tiger Shark during WWII. After a long seven weeks at sea, the crew is instructed to pick up three survivors of a recently torpedoed British hospital ship. Once the survivors are aboard, among them a lone female nurse, the obligatory strange and creepy things begin to happen. As the bodies and the questions begin to pile up, the claustrophobic confines of the sub and the dark water around it presses in, unrelenting. It is a neat set-up, and it works for this movie. There are several nail-biting moments, including a depth charge sequence so exquisitely excruciating you will only realize you have been holding your breath once you let it out.

With an impressive creative team, including director David Twohy (Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Riddick), writer Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream), and some great character actors including Olivia Williams (Rushmore) and Dexter Fletcher (the reluctantly crazed chef from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels), it is a shame that this movie basically slipped by without notice.The tone and style of this movie really makes it a winner, with a supernatural evil in the movie that is definitely present, but not all up in your face with a chainsaw. It is refreshing when a horror film makes the your skin crawl without resorting to all-out bloodfests, in the style of the much-abused Blair Witch Project and the masterful films of M. Night Shyamalan. Another great film we can't recommend enough (also ignored in the box office) is Session 9, with the creepy, yet compelling David Caruso in an abandoned insane asylum filled with asbestos. If anyone is looking to beat the heat on either coast, take a chance with these chills n' thrills - but don't blame us if you need to sleep with the lights on.

PS Seattle Maggie was so inspired by this film that she paid a visit to a real live Russian submarine docked at Pier 48 - All we can say is, we really hope all the sailors were short, as even our squat Asian stature didn't get us out of bashing our noggin on various pipes and valves on more than one occasion.

Posted by seattle maggie at July 20, 2004 4:04 PM