IT CAME FROM BELOW gives us a new spin to an old favourite, the swamp creature. When Jesse (Purvis) and Sam’s (Watkins) father dies, they decide to find answers about a creature that their father believed lived in the caves. With two friends, Joanna (Banks) and Marty (Taplin), the group set about learning the truth.
Our hero of the story, Jesse, is conflicted about the creature her father saw but is dedicated to proving him right. Sam and Joanna, however, are not convinced while Marty is open to the possibility. What they ultimately confront is a monstrous creature which sounds like a T-Rex crossed with Godzilla.
The acting from the main cast is relatable and their adventure is believable, Each character has their own motivation for following Jesse and Sam into the cave and when they venture deep into the darkness the claustrophobic atmosphere elevates their irritation, causing the group to split up,
IT CAME FROM BELOW has a simple story with a complicated world behind it. Written by Dan Allen and Sam Ashurst, the screenplay builds the tension well but lets the viewer down with the lack of answers. While we do follow Jesse, who only knows what her father has told her, the creature in the cave’s origins is only alluded to despite her father surviving with a diary of information. The teasing of an answer is shown through flashbacks of him on his deathbed, but the payoff is more emotional and psychological than the film alludes.
The strength of the film is the quality of the visuals and sound designs. Allen definitely has a style and a voice within the genre. Through his use of sound, light, and editing the he offers a classic and effective horror film. The use of the echo of drips and reverb while the four friends hike through the open woods gives an ominous and unsettling atmosphere.
IT CAME FROM BELOW is better than Allen’s first feature, but still has some story elements that need improving. While I don’t subscribe to ‘babying’ the audience, we are given very little information aside from the character's personal conviction that her father was right. This may be enough for some, but I could not help but wanting (or needing) more.
It Came From Below is available digitally from Sep 7, 2021.