★★ out of ★★★★★
Lace up your hiking boots and grab your headlamp for a journey underground in It Came From Below!
Directed by Dan Allen
Jessie (Megan Purvis) has just lost her dad, an explorer, shortly after he returned from a spelunking trip where he claimed that he’d encounter a horrific creature deep within the caves. Armed with his diary and field notes, and joined by her friends Sam (Jake Watkins), Marty (Tom Taplin), and Joanna (Georgie Banks), Jessie sets out to explore the caves and prove that her father was not crazy.
As the group makes their way to the caves we get a little character background and standard “exploration/survival horror” tropes: Jessie doesn’t like Sam’s girlfriend Joanna (rightly so as she’s a pretty horrid character), Marty and Jessie have a romantic past and oh yeah, stay out of the caves! We also learn that local legend posits that the caves are haunted by a creature that some believe to be an alien stuck on earth.
As they descend into the caverns “the whispers” from the cave paintings have a maddening effect on Marty causing him to freak out and the group to split up and lose their way. In the depth of the caves, they discover that the creature from below may not be the only, or most deadly, being underground.
The biggest drawback of this film and one that impacted my experience from the very beginning is that it is so dark! It was almost impossible to see (and not just when they were in a dark cave). We’re in a new age of film and like it or not most people are viewing at home so being able to see the film on a TV screen is really important and this film missed that mark.
Further, the film doesn’t contribute anything new to the genre and is derivative of The Descent (the gold standard for cave horror, I’d Argue) or the recent Stephen King TV series, The Outsider. The creature design and the acting left a lot to be desired; this film just did not do it for me.
It Came From Below had its world premiere during Popcorn Frights’ streaming festival and will be released in September 2021.
Oof. Excellent review as always. This was one hot mess of a film.