THE ONES BELOW
(director/writer: David Farr; cinematographer: Ed Rutherford; editor: Chris Wyatt ; music: Adem Ilhan; cast: Clémene Poésy (Kate), David Morrissey (Jon), Stephen Campbell Moore (Justin), Laura Birn (Theresa), Deborah Findlay (Tessa); Runtime: 86; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Nikki Parrott ; BBC Films/Magnet; 2015)-UK
“A slick but flawed psychological thriller.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A slick but flawed psychological thriller by first-timer Brit filmmaker David Farr, that tries to emulate the anxiety over childbirth in Rosemary’s Baby. But there are problems over its tonal swings, its overwrought conclusion and manipulative angst agenda that lacked an ongoing sense of menace. The thirty-something small company publisher Justin (Stephen Campbell Moore) and Kate (Clémence Poésy) have been married for ten years and are expecting their first child. The reason for the delay is because Kate is reluctant to be a mom. They live upstairs in an up-scale middle-class suburban London two-flat. With the death of their downstairs elderly neighbor, a new couple, the cold banker Jon (David Morrissey) and the flirty pregnant much younger wife Theresa (Laura Birn), relocated from Frankfurt, Germany, move in. We learn the couple has been trying for 7 years to have a child, and are ecstatic with the expected upcoming birth. The couple’s meet over dinner at Jon’s flat. But after a polite start it ends in bitterness and tragedy when Theresa trips down the stairs in the darkened hall because a lightbulb wasn’t replaced and loses her child. This puts a kibosh in the relationship. When Kate has her baby boy, we are led to believe that the downnstair’s couple have a hidden agenda to get even by possibly harming their baby. We are also led to believe that maybe the psychologically unbalanced Kate is just imagining bad things about their wealthy neighbors. There are twists in the third act but they are underwhelming.
REVIEWED ON 11/15/2016 GRADE: B-