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Monday, July 12, 2021

The Devil Below (2021)

I’m generally a pessimist when I see new horror movies coming out. They always seem to disappoint me, but when I saw this trailer, I was intrigued. Mysterious creatures from a deep mine start snatching and killing people. That seems right in my wheelhouse. Toss in the fact that criminally underrated Will Patton figures heavily in the trailer and I was sold. God Damn it movie…

The story kicks off with the aforementioned Patton’s character Schuttmann talking to his son about one of the workers in the mine. Something grabs his kid and takes him away. Then we meet our main cast. Yeah, Patton is a bit of stunt casting as he is hardly in the movie. Strike one. A group of scientists are doing environmental research, only in a plot twist you can see coming miles away they aren’t. To that end they hire Arianne, a mysterious woman who acts as security and a guide. They sneak into what they think is a disaster area surrounding a mine disaster. Sure enough they let the monsters out. 

The rest of the movie is them trying not to die as the locals work to put the genie back in the bottle. Not sure if they are being paid to or just feel responsible for the monsters, but they all work to keep them locked up in the old mine. Lots of people die, and then the survivors close the gate and go back to keeping them contained. Yeah, that is pretty much the entire story. So, there you go. Before I forget Patton does show up a bit in the middle and at the end for a couple of scenes. I guess they had him for a whole weekend?

If you can’t tell I was very disappointed with The Devil Below. Firstly, I hate it when movies do the stunt casting and make you think with their trailer that a familiar actor plays a large role. That seems to be a dick move and sets expectations higher than they should be. I don’t mind watching horror flicks with unknowns, I would just rather know that is what I’m getting. Additionally, I’d also like to be able to watch the movie, including the action. Far too much of what happens with the creatures in The Devil Below is either from the point of view of a camera one of the characters is carrying, or just shitty camera work where you can’t follow what is happening. Not quite to the level of a found footage flick, but it does go there a few times. That sucks because the couple of times we get to see the creatures they look decent. 

Pacing is also a big problem for this one. After an interesting opening there is a lot of stuff establishing the characters of the scientists and their guide. Well, there is an attempt to anyway. I wasn’t quite sure what the group dynamic was and what motivations were before they started killing them off. Though that isn’t because they didn’t have time. We get plenty of walking, talking, camping, walking, and more talking. It just doesn’t go anywhere. Once the creatures do get out things pick up, but by then I should have been invested in at least some of the characters. Spoilers… I wasn’t. 

Other than one fun gag with a spike or talon thru the head I found the kills bland. Nothing else stands out to me. In fact, looking at my notes taken while watching I don’t have much about them. Most of what you get is yelling, the camera bouncing around like a twelve-year-old off his Ritalin, and blood splatter. Again, the creatures look good when we can see them but overall, this was a disappointment. 
The Devil Below is an utterly forgettable and generic monster movie that had a lot of promise but fails to deliver the goods. I can’t recommend this one at all. There are much better movies just like this that you should spend your time on instead. 

© Copyright 2021 John Shatzer

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