Friday, May 27, 2016

Arrow in the Head: Upstairs Downstairs

Year: 2016
Director: David Farr
Cast: Clémence Poésy, David Morrissey, Stephen Campbell Moore 
Run Time: 1 hour 27 minutes
MPAA Rating: R

Read my full review of The Ones Below at Arrow in the Head.

The Ones Below has the worst opening credits I’ve ever seen on a movie that’s claiming to be professional. My student film had better opening credits. Hell, the Animorphs fan film I made in third grade on Windows Movie Maker has better opening credits (for the record, they were scored by Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’”). Now, the rest of the film manages the microscopic feat of looking more professional than its credits, but the fact that it doesn’t go above and beyond that initial level of apathy is damning.

This film is cheap. So cheap that it couldn’t afford a fake computer operating system that looks more modern than, say, WarGames. For god’s sake, there are actual f**king green polygons up in this beast. It’s stunning how little they attempted to stretch their budget to any degree. As I stated, this works for its haphazard tonal approach, but it’s genuinely embarrassing.

There are some subtleties in the story that I appreciate, allowing the viewer to actively make connections and attempt to guess what’s going on, but a blatantly derivative third act makes the whole affair retroactively even duller. Any and all of the movie’s sputtering buildup is squandered by this bleating, overlong, too obvious finale. It’s a mark of a bad film that my guesses as to what was happening were always more entertaining than what it eventually turned out to be. 

There’s enough good in The Ones Below to make it bearable, but who the hell needs to watch a bearable film? Watch Rosemary’s Baby. Watch Inside. Hell, watch Annabelle for a better time with a pregnant horror protagonist. If you feel the need to check out The Ones Below for yourself, just don’t blame me.

TL;DR: The Ones Below has a solid ensemble, but is too cheap and generic to be worthwhile.
Rating: 5/10
Word Count: 937


  1. You know, this is one I might check out at some point, if it ever winds up on Netflix; I think I could find something to like about a horror movie that deliberately attempts to look like a 1950s Technicolor melodrama.

    (It is deliberate, right? Maybe not: that dinner table shot in the review looks like every other dinner table shot in every other everything made since 1998.)

    1. I see your dinner table shot and raise you this backyard shot: