Marine Biologist, Olive Crown (Anna Dawson), gets a once in a lifetime chance to be the first person to test out this new diving suit that can conceivably go deeper than any other. And it does too, perhaps a little too deep, for there are things that live in the briny deep that we humans might not want to discover. Director Stewart Sparke is clearly a H.P. Lovecraft fan for not only is this tentacled monster Olive encounters very Cthulhu-ish, but later on in the film she hangs a diploma up that clearly says Miskatonic University. And moments before she’s killed in the final act she even quotes Lovecraft directly, one quote being general Lovecraft, and the second part coming from, if I’m not mistaken, his novella, The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward. I’m a big Lovecraft fan, so I enjoyed this aspect of the movie, along with the middle part where all of the gore and monster effects are practical, though you never see a lot of the monster.
This deep sea encounter with pseudo-Cthulhu leaves one of its eggs jammed into one of the suit’s air tanks. Olive finds it later and decides to take it home and raise it, but once the creature has hatched it enthralls her by jetting it’s black juice into her face causing her eyes to go all evil black.
The plot reminded me of Hellraiser (1987). In that flick you had a father, a biological daughter and an “evil stepmother.” Once the father’s brother escapes from hell and has to hole up in the attic because of the way he looks, the evil stepmother makes a deal with the devil so-to-speak to get victims for him for the blood of others makes him more human looking. Father and daughter know nothing of what’s happening until its too late. Olive lives with her boyfriend, Matt (Daniel Thrace), and her sister, Ellie (Michaela Longden), is staying with them for a while. Once Olive learns her baby Cthulhu needs blood to live she goes out to acquire victims which come in the form of Dr. Fletcher (Zach Lee), the douchebag who created the suit and who wanted to find this creature all along (he actually deserved to die); fellow biologist, Dara (Johnny Vivash), who did not deserve to die, and some old woman from an old age home her boyfriend worked at.
Matt and Ellie know nothing of what’s happening. All they know is Olive doesn’t seem like herself anymore. I have a thing about eye trauma in movies. It freaks the shit out of me and Olive has moments where her eyes bleed black gunk, one scene in particular was nasty looking, and it freaked me out (see below). Once she discovers her boyfriend and her sister about to have sex, well, they both apparently have to die now. Ellie is the one who manages to survive all this and ends up in an asylum at the end, a typical ending for most characters in any Lovecraft tale that manage to “survive.”
There were two things that killed this flick outright for me: one, the horrible, and I mean, horrible, computer effects. Worse than you typical creature feature on the SyFy Channel. So bad they looked like animatics to me. And for me bad CGI will always tank a movie. Most of the CGI, however, takes place in the beginning, and right at the very end. Secondly, the plot in general was too been-there-done-that. It all goes back to the CGI for me though, Had it been polished, in certain circumstances a great looking monster can make a ho-hum plot seem more interesting. At the very least it would have kept me involved with the hope of seeing more monster eye candy.
On February 28 Breaking Glass Pictures releases The Creature Below here in the U.S. on DVD only. As of this review there’s still no DVD release in the U.K.
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen—2.0 English Stereo, 5.1 English Surround—no subtitles
I don’t know if it was just my copy but the transfer was not great at all. It had this intermittent stutter effect to it, mostly when the camera panned around and when characters moved. It cleared up in the final act.
Extras included . . .
- Making The Creature Below (23:30)
- The Creature Below Trailer
- Deleted Scenes (5:51)
- Frightfest: Stewart Sparke & Paul Butler in Conversation With Ian Rattray (4;46)
- Rats Short Film (3:24)