The Dark Below
Clocking in at an hour and fifteen minutes, Douglas Schulze's horror thriller "The Dark Below" should have been a swift, energized suspensor. Instead, Schulze's almost continuous use of slow motion has essentially made a short film into a full length movie simply because two-thirds of it is filmed at half speed.
Cleverly told without dialogue (there is one line in the entire movie), the movie opens on a woman named Rachel (Lauren Mae Shafer) struggling with a man (David G.B. Brown) in the back room of a scuba shop. He forces her to drink a suspicious liquid which knocks her unconscious. He then slides her into a scuba suit, attaches an oxygen tank to her back, and throws her into a frozen lake. The reasons for this are slowly revealed by flashback throughout the film, and while the plot lacks depth, it effectively explains why this woman is in the predicament she is in.
While the premise seems smart, there are a lot of questions that pop up throughout. Why isn't Rachel's body shutting down more quickly when she's trapped under water for so long? Why can she easily open her eyes without them freezing in the icy lake? Why doesn't the man just kill her and get it over with?
None of this is really explained because, well, there is no dialogue. That said, the movie actually looks really good, but it is tripped up by the aforementioned slo-mo. It's so persistent that at the end when we should be on the edge of our seats wondering if Rachel will escape her captor, all energy is sucked out of the final scenes because we watch her do everything at a glacial pace. There was a point where I literally almost fast-forwarded through the climax because I just wanted to see what was going to happen rather than watch her drag herself out of a hole for five minutes.
More annoying than thrilling, "The Dark Below" is a good concept with bad execution. This one left me cold.