The Ones Below is a film. Review done. Oh, right, you want more than that if you are here. Since I have started reviewing films, I have been trying to go into the movies blind, not seeking out any information prior to viewing. If you go by the cover on The Ones Below, you would expect a creepy thriller. There isn’t much suspense in this film if you have seen others akin to this type. What comes about is mostly style over substance; I’ll try to help you decide whether that makes it worth a buy.
The Movie Itself (2.5/5)
Our fairy-tale romance begins with Kate and Justin at the doctor’s office receiving an ultrasound of their new bundle of joy. We learn a little bit about their jobs and daily lives before we meet the new downstairs neighbors. Kate spies new neighbor Theresa, who is also pregnant, from her window. She ends up introducing herself, and then they end up spending some time together before meeting the husbands. Kate invites Theresa and her husband Jon (David Morrissey) to dinner to get to know them better. We learn a little more about these mysterious downstairs folk, including what Jon does for a living (this must be prior to him being Governor of Woodbury, Georgia) and that he and Theresa have been trying for quite a while to have a child. It is quite the stark contrast to Jon and Kate, who seemingly didn’t want kids but then got pregnant right away after changing their mind. While the two couples seem somewhat like opposite ends of the spectrum, we are lead to believe that they can get along swimmingly. Of course that is until… Please insert coin to continue
Oh good, you’re still here! So, right as dinner is wrapping up, extenuating circumstances (plot devices) cause Theresa to fall down the stairs!!! Oh NO, a complete shock to the audience! If this wasn’t set in the UK, I might have thought I was watching a Lifetime Movie, and that former cast members of 90210 were bound to show up at any time. I have never watched Lifetime and don’t know if any of that is true… but this is how I imagine most of their films to be. It wouldn’t be a movie if Theresa’s baby had survived, so now we must find out what becomes of everyone.
I won’t go much more into the plot from here because even though I think the writer believes what happens during the rest of the film are twists, there isn’t anything your average movie-goer won’t see coming. What I would like to talk about are the set pieces and some of the design choices by the cinematographer and staff. Before I wrote reviews I never really got into the nooks an crannies of films. I mostly took what I watched at face value. Now when I watch I am starting to pick up on a lot of the nuances that the cinematographers add to the film. I really appreciated the stark contrasts between the couples. Every time you see Kate and Justin, it is always in muted tones and they always seem very plain, whether it be clothing, makeup, or what have you. It is quite the difference to Theresa and Jon, who are wearing the latest fashion and whose apartment is all decked out lavishly; they also drive the fancy car and talk about their multiple houses. It’s not subtle, but I still think it adds to the film; you can see what they were trying for to make The One Below seem normal.
Visuals/Picture Quality (4.5/5)
The visuals and quality were the brightest spot of the film. As previously discussed the various shots and set pieces were done well. The picture itself was very clear and showed a lot of depth and detail. The blacks look nice and contrast all comes through nicely. The few dark parts did lose a little detail, but those were few and far between.
Score/Audio Quality (4.5/5)
The audio is also another highlight. The Ones Below possesses a very minimalist score. In some scenes it is completely absent, and when it does come it is subdued; however, it fits the movie well. The Ones Below is a very dialogue driven film. Thankfully, all the dialogue comes through very clear. The effects are also well done and seem to compliment everything well.
Special Features (1/5)
Creating a Cinematic Moment: Under the Bridge (2:59) Apparently writer/director David Farr thinks people watch the special features before the movie. He desperately wants to talk about this one scene they shot involving a bridge but does not want to spoil anything. So he tells us how it made him feel while being as vague as possible… then with the last 10 seconds they show the aforementioned shot including the “twist” part of it.
Going Below the Story (8:59) David Farr describes his inspiration for the story and how the film came about. Producer Nikki Parrot joins in to talk about some of the themes of motherhood and loneliness of raising a child in a city like London.
Behind the Cast and Characters (8:59) Our two couples stop by to discuss their characters and what they were going for in the film. No gigantic revelations by any means, but viewers that loved the film might enjoy the chatter.
Car Stunt: Breaking Down an Action Sequence (2:24) The strangest feature I have ever encountered? It details a car accident stunt that is not in the film. It was evidently cut, so I am not sure why we are getting a break down of it. Then again, most of the break down discusses things like having to get the car ready, clearing the roads, and other obvious things that you wouldn’t need a special feature to realize.
- The Ones Below
- The Last King
- The Wave
- Disc Art
- Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
- English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- English SDH
Runtime 86 Mins
I’m giving a slight bump to overall score because of the wonderfully done picture and sound quality. Even with the awful special features, if you want to watch The Ones Below the best place would certainly be Blu-ray over any of the streaming sites due to the presentation. While touted as a suspenseful thriller and failing to deliver in that department, there are still some that will have a good time with this film. At the time of this writing Best Buy seems to have the best price for this film for those interested.
Note: This Blu Ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.