Director – David Twohy
Cast – Matthew Davis, Bruce Greenwood, Olivia Williams, Holt McCannaly, Scott Foley, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher, Nick Chinlund
Release Year – 2002
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Here is a film with a horror sub-plot with the setting taking place at sea, which I tend to enjoy, and it is most likely a good thing that we only see these types of horror films every few years or so. I usually enjoy these films due to the fact that being stuck in the ocean leaves you with nowhere to run(unless you are Michael Phelps), and no one is remotely around you to offer assistance other than those you are already with. And now that I have said that, let’s expect Hollywood to rip off my remark about Michael Phelps and cash in on the idea of him being “lost at sea” in a horror film. Maybe he will even whip out his bong and fight off some ghosts with it. Just kidding…
The film takes place during WW2 on a US S-boat submarine. While on patrol, the officers of the sub receive orders to pick up three British survivors who’s medical relief ship was attacked by a German U-boat. This seems like an easy, routine mission until things start to get a little weird once the three survivors settle into the sub. The sailors start to hear strange noises, see strange things, and begin to question their sanity in the long, claustrophobic submarine that they have to call home for months at a time. They then begin to realize that they may be in line for dire consequences for doing a good deed and saving the three British survivors.
I really liked the idea of this film taking place in a submarine that is pretty much underwater 90 percent of the film. It helps to provide a great “helpless” atmosphere for the sailors due to the fact that they really have no where to go given that they are basically trapped in a steel cage that is hundreds, and sometimes thousands of feet underwater. This is one of those films that uses atmosphere to set an eerie, creepy feel to the film. With all of the creaks and moans of the submarine going on underwater, I can totally understand how these guys would tend to be a bit crazy given that they spend months at a time in the claustrophobic submarine without ever seeing daylight.
This film doesn’t really start off like much of a horror film. The first half of the film is really more of an action film with the submarine being attacked and having to use evasive maneuvers. We are only shown a few creepy scenes during the first half of the film. When the second half kicks in, this film gets more into “suspense” mode and goes more into the supernatural story behind what is happening on the submarine. I really liked the story, although it was a bit predictable for the most part. Aside from slight details, you should be able to predict what is going on from the subtle hints we are given throughout the film. Acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky was one of the writers for this film, and although it is for the most part well done…it pales in comparison to the other great films he has directed such as The Wrestler, The Fountain, Requiem for a Dream, and Pi(to name a few). The acting however, is decently done in this film but could have been much better had we not been subjected to Olivia Williams‘(who played the character “Claire“) over-acting. She was constantly overdramatic, and was quite unbelievable most likely due how she would execute her lines in a rushed fashion. This film doesn’t really star any notable A-list actors, and actually fell pretty far under the radar when it was released which lead to the film receiving a limited release of less than 200 theaters. For comparison issues, The Dark Knight was released on over 3,000 theaters!
Unfortunately, this film really didn’t scare me at all, and I found the scares to be a little weak. The film had good audio scares(sounds, voices), but that is about it. I’m pretty hard to scare though, so some of you newbies who scare easily might actually fall for the scares in this film. Which is good! I wish more films scared me. Maybe if this film had skipped away with some of the war action scenes and focused more on story and scares then I would have enjoyed it more.
Overall, this is a decent film to check out if you are fans of the “lost at sea” horror sub-genre, of you want to see a supernatural type film.