The Devil Below
Eric S Brown
The Devil Below is a film loaded with potential, but ultimately fails to deliver much. Based on the very cool concept that monsters live beneath the surface of the Earth, the movie may remind one of Jeff Long’s novel The Descent (released in 1999) though it certainly lacks the theological themes of that book. There are brief mentions of Hell and Purgatory but The Devil Below’s monsters are much closer to something out of Alien in both what they seem to be and their appearance. They are an undiscovered species that breed and function much like ants.
A miner, played by veteran actor Will Patton, loses his son to the monsters in the movie’s prologue and its plot picks up years later as team of scientists, their guide, and a single, armed security man go in search of a lost mining town. They find it and a much more than they planned for, soon are caught in a fight for survival as the monsters below the surface rise up, attempting to expand out from their underground lair. They soon discover that Will Patton’s character has mobilized the entire town into an armed force that has been holding the monsters at bay for years, protecting the rest of the world. The movie ends with him stopping the monsters once more and the science team’s kick butt guide, played by Alicia Sanz, joining him in his war against the monsters instead of returning to the world outside the town’s barriers.
At times, The Devil Below is close to a masterwork of fun horror with its scenes of an armed, militarized small town at war with a seemingly unending stream of monsters that are trying to expand their realm to the surface of the Earth. The film really shines in these action sequences and the implied larger battles of the war. However, the movie falls flat in terms of its explanation of what is happening, giving little information to the viewer about the monsters themselves, what they are, and how they came to be. This lack of “world building” leaves much of the characters and the film feeling two dimensional and without much the viewer can connect to despite the stellar performances of some of the cast. There are too many questions left unanswered and too many elements unexplained or glossed over.
Overall, The Devil Below is certainly a watchable horror flick with great moments of fun but it is not one that most viewers will remember for long after.