Mixed or average reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 20
  2. Negative: 3 out of 20
  1. 75
    As ghost stories go, this one is handled with great subtlety and delicacy.
  2. Twohy pulls all the strings to create an inventive genre piece.
  3. 63
    A movie where the story, like the sub, sometimes seems to be running blind. In its best moments it can evoke fear, and it does a good job of evoking the claustrophobic terror of a little World War II boat.
  4. 63
    With more character development this might have been an eerie thriller; with better payoffs, it could have been a thinking man's monster movie.
  5. The story offers an interesting twist, but the only really spooky part is when a Benny Goodman record insists on playing without human aid. More scares, please.
  6. 50
    A substandard attempt to outfit a World War II submarine with every haunted-house cliché known to man and filmmakers.
  7. The dialogue, heavy on sarcasm and puncturing insults, never captures the World War II period but sounds ridiculously anachronistic.
  8. 50
    Situations don't come much more claustrophobic, and if the payoff doesn't quite live up to the build-up, the film is still an enjoyable exercise in claustrophobic suspense.
  9. In the handsome, haunting submarine thriller Below, the usual perils of deep-sea maneuvers are heightened by psychic unraveling.
  10. An excruciatingly awful thriller.
  11. 80
    Twohy moves effortlessly between conventions of the sub and horror genres, with long tracking shots and masterful sound design, shock cuts and mismatched mirrors and reflections.
  12. Twohy's a good yarn-spinner, and ultimately the story compels.
  13. Has a slamming first hour. As Ian Wilson's camera darts over Charles Lee's spookily atmospheric sets, enigmas sprout like mushrooms.
  14. An ingenious hybrid of submarine movie and ghost story. And there's a wee bit of "Macbeth" in there too.
  15. 70
    Until the ghost story takes over this is a tense and absorbing war picture.
  16. Reviewed by: Justine Elias
    Though the genre collisions (horror/WWII submarine/undersea Macbeth) are as jarring as the sound design, the cumulative effect is one of claustrophobic creepiness.
  17. 60
    Has the bad luck to come on the heels of Kathryn Bigelow's beautifully made and politically impassioned "K-19," making this submarine picture -- a relatively modest, low-budget affair -- seem skimpy by comparison.
  18. 50
    Twohy and co-screenwriters Darren Aronofsky and Lucas Sussman don't show their hand until late in the film, but by that time, Below has grown slack and silly.
  19. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    This hokey thriller reps what one can only hope will be a one-of-a-kind hybrid between a World War II actioner and a ghost story outfitted with innumerable false-alarm shock cuts and shot with enough colored lights and filters to delight Baz Luhrmann.
  20. It just never began to work for me, and the sub story behind the ghost story is far more interesting than the ghost story in front of the sub story.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 13 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 5
  2. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Jul 2, 2014
    Below: 5/10: Much like M. Night Shyamalan's The Village halfway through Below I had a horrible feeling of dread. There were many ways the plot could still go and nothing but atmosphere and build-up had taken place. Yet I became convinced that a lame obvious payoff was in my future. I was right.

    Below tells such a simple straightforward story that the histrionics throughout the film seem even more overblown in retrospect than during the viewing. The movie succeeds on some levels, it has a nice Pitch Black homage, very good special effects and set design and it does create a spooky atmosphere with sounds all around you and slamming door and flickering lights. (Director Twohy throws so many fright clich├ęs at you I'm surprised the submarine doesn't have a cat.)

    The downsides, besides the disastrous ending, are more plentiful. Bruce Greenwood, playing the acting skipper, comes across as more of a fishing charter captain than a sub commander in wartime. And Olivia Williams, as the rescued nurse, plays cold so well that I was rooting for the only piece of eye-candy in the whole film to die, disappear or at the very least shut up.

    All of this is a bit of a shame because take away the ghost story (and the endless bump in the night cheap scares that accompany it) you have yourself a pretty serviceable psychological thriller. On top of that the action scenes with the Germans attacking the sub are certainly tenser than any of the haunting stuff.

    Director Twohy would have been wise to dump the end and gone with a straightforward crippled World War 2 sub story.
    Full Review »
  2. Mar 12, 2013
    Beautifully shot, well acted, but boring, boring boring. Sorry. The story makes no sense and so, though you would love to care about the characters and maybe get a little scared, you don't. Full Review »
  3. Oct 8, 2010
    Well, here again we have a situation where critics have completely and utterly failed to identify a good film. 'Below' is, from beginning to end, a fully convincing and gripping movie, with great acting, intelligent scripting, masterfully done camera work, and a truly chilling and claustrophobic atmosphere. To be fair, it does also suffer from the problems usually associated with ghost stories; namely, little actual payoff to accompany the buildup and suspense, and supernatural explanations that can seem a little...well...trite and hokey. Still, 'Below' is a gripping, unsettling, and ultimately immensely enjoyable experience, and one that doesn't require you to check your brain at the door. If you people are finally sick of the hackneyed torture porn garbage that we've been fed for the last 5 or 6 years, why don't you give this movie a try? Full Review »