Son of 31 Nights, 31 Frights: Below

Son of 31 Nights, 31 Frights

In observance of that autumn spell when we celebrate the primal, compulsive instinct of fear, Rainestorm once more highlights 31 days of spooky scares to season the eerie atmosphere of Halloween.

For those who tuned in last year, I subjected you to a daily dose of diabolical dread and devilish distress. Just as every good horror movie deserves an inferior sequel, I offer this follow-up of also-rans, not bads, and perhaps a couple of you’ve-gotta-be-kidding-mes.

Unleashed: 2002

Bruce Greenwood in 'Below'

“So that’s where they got the title from.”

What evil lurks: Those of you who followed along last year may recall my affinity for ghost stories. In keeping with the best of them, director and co-writer David Twohy unravels this terrific little mystery that is, aside from being a good horror movie, an exceptionally well done World War II submarine thriller. Bruce Greenwood, always adept at stolid leadership, here overseas a motley gang of ragged sailors. While he and his officers are oddly circumspect regarding the demise of the boat’s captain, strange occurrences begin to unravel the crew. The performances are all top-notch and Olivia Williams, in particular, does a superb job against an all-male cast. Twohy showed his deft hand at suspense with the sci-fi monster movie, Pitch Black. He skillfully demonstrates here that he can bring that same anxiety down to earth and… well… below.

Highlight from hell: The tense repair dive into the submarine’s damaged ballast tanks.

Terrifying trivia: Art house darling Darren Aronofsky, who co-wrote the screenplay, was originally going to direct the film in 1999 but instead made Requiem for a Dream.

Diabolical dialogue: “Now I realize why he didn’t kill me too. He didn’t have to.”

Son of: The Others (2001). It may not take place underwater but substitute a remote country house for a submarine and the eerie goings-on ring familiar.

Shoddy sequel syndrome: The rather second-rate CGI certainly won’t win the film any admirers.