plot in a nutshell
It's 1943, and a U.S. submarine, the Tiger Shark, is sent to pick up the
survivors of a British hospital ship, sunk by an enemy sub. When they
get there, only three are left alive, and a German destroyer is after them.
It becomes pretty obvious
pretty quickly that the external enemies aren't the ones they need to fear,
as weirdness seems to haunt this sub. As the bodies and the creeps
start to stack up, it's left to a handful of men and one woman to figure out
how to survive.
Spoiler Free Thoughts
I have always
enjoyed submarine movies. Films like Das Boot, Hunt for Red October, and
Crimson Tide exploit the claustrophobic and trapped nature of the vessel
itself. It only makes sense that a sub would make for a perfect
setting for a ghost story.
from the first time we meet the sub crew, it's clear that there's something
up. These aren't your usual movie war heroes, and the gritty nature of
their duty is apparent. Almost the entire movie is filmed inside the sub,
with lots of close ups and tight camera work, accentuating the cramped
sub rescues three survivors from the ill fated British ship. A
seriously wounded patient, his young female doctor, and a British
sailor. At first, all is not what it seems with these three, but the
secrets they have are nothing compared to the secrets the American crew are
of the actors are big names, although they've had recognizable roles.
They female doctor is played by Olivia Williams, perhaps best known as Bruce
Willis' wife in the Sixth Sense. She did a fine job here, although her
character seemed a little to willing to leap to the supernatural answer, and
yet seemed a tad slow on figuring out the all too common human failure that
created the situation.
McCallany plays Loomis, the angry disbelieving member of the sub
command. He's had small parts in plenty of manly movies, like Fight
Club, Men of Honor, or Three Kings, but this is a much larger role for
him. He does a great job, and is a fine character actor.
Greenwood is the biggest name here, having played JFK in Thirteen Days, and
more recently with roles in Hollywood Homicide and The Core. He puts
in a solid performance as Lt. Brice, a man who's trying to hide more than
his conscience will allow. The
rest of the supporting cast does an adequate job, with some nice character
parts from several.
script isn't deep or complex, and this isn't a film with lots of gore.
Actually, if they had removed some of the language, it would have made the
perfect television film, and the most striking and haunting visuals aren't
traditional Hollywood scares. The director - David Twohy, better known
for Pitch Black - has gone for the more understated, scare with atmosphere
style. It is fairly effective, though certainly not at the level of a
film like Sixth Sense or the Ring.
screenplay was co-written by Darren Aronofsky, who has gotten acclaim for Pi
and Requiem for a Dream. I think the jury is still out on whether he's
the real deal or simply lucky so far, as his past work isn't yet enough to
push him to the top, and while this film is decent, it's certainly not
the best thing about this DVD is the use of the surround sound.
They've done an excellent job setting the tone through the sound track, and
they take advantage of the whole sound field. There's plenty of
general ship noise around you, and tons of deep bass.
Rating - Rent
is a fun little ghost story, with a few genuinely creepy moments. It's
not a classic, or the kind of film that I'd watch over and over, but it was
well worth a rental.
and here's a tidbit to watch for - the British Captain at the very end of
the film...that's David Twohy, doing a small cameo.
Spoiler Laden Thoughts
I had a couple minor issues with the plot...
It was obvious from the first
moment that Brice and Loomis had killed Commander Winters, but that's fine -
I have no problem with the writer telegraphing something like that.
But why were they so quick to try to kill Odell? Sure, he thought
something was a bit odd about the sinking of the British ship, but he wasn't
showing any signs of catching on that it was his own ship that had done the
work. And Brice, a man portrayed as having moral trouble over the
death of Winters, was the one who sent him out to be killed.
There were also several scenes
that were poorly directed and/or edited, because they left too much
information out. I'm always the first to complain when someone
overtells a story, but on a couple occasions in this film, more info would
have been nice. One was during the death of almost the entire
crew. While I liked how it was filmed - with just a soft 'poof' in the
background while the rest are talking - it wasn't very clear why the flame
was coming on at that time, and why it ignited the hydrogen. They
danced around the danger, with a quip about the Hindinburgh, but that scene
seemed only partially there, and I was left feeling a little cheated.
I felt the same way about the
death of Lt. Coors, played by Scott Foley. Anyone that's had roles on
both Dawson's Creek and Felicity deserves a wicked death, but what the hell
actually happened to him? Yes, he fell, but into what? His
injuries looked far worse than a simple fall, and it wasn't clear if they
were up by one of the screws or exactly what was happening. That made
it feel even more like a TV movie - it seemed like they avoided giving us
the gory details, but that robbed us of some of the explanation.
Still, it was a fun little
film, and I'm quite happy I spent the effort in tracking it down to rent.