THE DARK BELOW (2015) Reviews and overview

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‘Silence is the most powerful scream’

The Dark Below is a 2015 American survival horror feature film written, co-produced and directed by Douglas Shulze (The Monster ShowMimesis; Dark Fields; et al) from a storyline co-written with Jonathan D’Ambrosio. The movie stars Lauren Mae Shafer, David G.B. Brown and Veronica Cartwright (Alien).


A young woman (Lauren Mae Shafer) struggles for survival beneath a frozen lake while a cold-blooded serial killer (David G.B. Brown) stalks her from the surface…


The film, which has minimal dialogue, features a distinctive soundtrack by artist Eric Bobo (Cypress Hill, The Beastie Boys).


The Dark Below was released theatrically in the US by Parade Deck Films on March 10, 2017. The film is released on DVD in the UK by High Fliers Films on March 19, 2018.

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“While it’s not a perfect film — the frostbite would be more extreme in reality, there are a few issues with the sound design, and the score is bit over the top in telling you what to feel — The Dark Below is a frozen-solid thriller that will chill you to the bone.” Screen Anarchy

“In place of speech, there is an endless brooding soundtrack and after a while the verbal silence just became a little bit of a gimmick that got a lot old. A Dark Below is an interesting experiment as a film and it definitely has its moments (plus a cameo by Veronica Cartwright). Parts of it are riveting, but its chosen format causes some pacing issues and the story itself suffers from stretched plausibility.” Pop Culture Beast

” …I can’t help but feel that this story could have been condensed slightly and perhaps would be even more suited as part of anthology film. That being said, I can’t really fault this too much at all. If you want a completely unique experience that does deliver, The Dark Below is one for you.” Nerdly


” …the film treats the audience to some striking underwater photography and a tense, haunting soundtrack. For awhile, it’s riveting. Then, it gets a little old. The film tries to shoehorn in a twisty plot about how she got there that’s a bit contrived and ultimately silly, with a groan-worthy payoff.” Cinefilles

” while The Dark Below presents itself as a taut survival thriller, its subtext, submerged beneath the surface of all that cat-and-mouse, is of a woman stuck in a loveless, airless marriage with an abusive misogynist, and struggling to emerge intact. Whether Rachel ever manages to break free, or remains caught in her own desperate fantasies of escape, might well leave viewers too feeling unsure if they have quite found their way out of this film’s ambiguities by the end.” Projected Figures

” …it’s dialogue free and Schulze is able to get much more plot details and character across through visuals, music and sound. Schulze could have played The Dark Below as a straightforward thriller and tick many of the usual conventions, but by creating his own rules, he’s able to craft a film that stands well above other claustrophobic survival dramas.” Movies in Focus


Main cast:

  • Lauren Mae Shafer – FracturedMimesis; Secrets in the Walls
  • David G.B. Brown – The Ark of the Witch; Mimesis
  • Veronica Cartwright – The InvasionAlien
  • Zachary Levine
  • Seraphina Anne Zorn
  • Tiffany Burns

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