Combustible Celluloid
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With: licia Sanz, Adan Canto, Chinaza Uche, Zach Avery, Jonathan Sadowski, Will Patton, Jesse LaTourette, William Mark McCullough, Alpha Trivette, Tom Proctor, Nathan Phillips, Duncan Novak, Kevin Wayne
Written by: Eric Scherbarth, Stefan Jaworski, based on a story by Eric Scherbarth
Directed by: Bradley Parker
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 92
Date: 03/05/2021

The Devil Below (2021)

2 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

From the maker of Chernobyl Diaries comes another poorly-shot, too dark, poorly-written horror movie with no suspense and characters we don't care about, but at least the monsters are kind of cool.

The Shookum Hills Mining Co. uncovers something startling in Appalachian country, and miner Schuttmann (Will Patton) has his life changed forever. Years later, the town itself seems to have disappeared from the map. Scientist Darren (Adan Canto) hires guide Arianne (Alicia Sanz) to bring him and his colleagues — Terry (Jonathan Sadowski), Shawn (Chinaza Uche), and Jaime (Zach Avery) — there for a scientific expedition.

The skilled, cunning Arianne finds the mysterious place with no problem, despite the clear indication that they are not wanted. But when Terry falls into the abandoned mine, the group unwittingly unleashes an unholy terror.

The Devil Below starts off immediately with a monster attack, a character brutally dragged away by... something, before jumping to the present day, and lots of dialogue. The reason the adventurers are trying to find the old town and the mine are varied — one character mentions "The Well of Hell," where the "screams of the damned" cane be heard, and another talks about a possible energy source — but the monster from the opening scene kills all suspense. We know where all this is going.

The characters are "types," each with a single trait, and it's impossible to care about them when they inevitably start being picked off. The possible exception is Arianne, who is pretty cool, able to get over an electric fence as well as coaxing directions out of the locals. And it's always great to see Will Patton (Minari), who plays a grizzled, hardened Appalachian man.

Director Bradley Parker favors shaky camerawork and poor lighting, but when we do get a look at his monsters and their facefuls of teeth, it's enough to make one wish that The Devil Below had been better, and more deserving of them.

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