THE ONES BELOW, the debut feature from writer-director David Farr (screenwriter of Hanna and “The Night Manager”), is a dark, modern fairy tale in which the lives of two couples become fatally intertwined. Kate (Clémence Poésy – Harry Potter franchise) and Justin (Stephen Campbell Moore – Burnt, The Lady in the Van) live in the upstairs flat of a London house. Thirty-something, successful and affluent, they are expecting their first baby. All appears well on the surface though Kate harbors deep-rooted fears about her fitness to be a mother and her ability to love her child. One day, another couple, Jon (David Morrissey – “The Walking Dead,” The Reaping) and Theresa (Laura Birn – Purge, Pearls and Pigs), moves in to the empty apartment below. They are also expecting a baby and, in stark contrast to Kate, Theresa is full of joy at the prospect of imminent motherhood. Pregnancy brings the women together in a blossoming friendship as Kate becomes entranced by Theresa’s unquestioning celebration of her family to be. Everything changes one night at a dinner party in Kate and Justin’s flat. Kate begins to sense that all is not as it seems with the couple below. Then a tragic accident throws the couples into a nightmare and a reign of psychological terror begins.
What We Thought:
The Ones Below does a good job of not showing all its cards till the very end. I didn’t quite love it, but it did hold my attention throughout.
David Morrissey is the only actor in it that I’m super familiar with. He’s a fantastic actor and as the elder statesman of the group, he is spot on with his performance. His character and his wife take a really good turn after an accident and you aren’t quite sure if they are the “bad guys” or if the other wife is making it all up.
Is it a Single White Female or The Hand That Rocks the Cradle type story? Is the wife/mother paranoid or are her neighbors out to get her? There’s just enough vagueness to keep you guessing until it all unravels at the end.
Most of the film takes place in one apartment or the other. I think it adds to the intrigue. The characters are always running into each other or seeing each other. That helps add to the “Is she crazy or are they stalking her” story.
The ending works pretty well. I wasn’t sure how far they would push it, but I think it’s believable enough. It’s wrapped up in an understandable way without trying to be too smart or clever.
The film looks good on Blu-ray. Colors are sharp, set design looks good in HD. Audio has easy to hear dialogue and score. It has a good amount of bonus features as well.
The Ones Below isn’t a home run by any means, but it’s entertaining enough. I can see a lot of people watching it if/when it hits Netflix. It’s smart without being too smart. The cast is solid and the story plays out in an easy to understand way without being a let down. Overall it is…
- Going Below the Story
- Behind the Cast & Characters
- Creating a Cinematic Moment: Under the Bridge
- Car Stunt: Breaking Down an Action Sequence
- Theatrical Trailer
Cast & Crew:
- David Morrissey
- Clemence Poesy
- Stephen Campbell Moore
- Laura Birn
Recommended If You Like:
- Single White Female
- The Hand That Rocks the Cradle