Below Zero is an action movie directed by Lluís Quílez and starring Javier Gutiérrez, Àlex Monner and Patrick Criado.
Thrillers, horrors and action movies that take place in one singular location are always a treat to watch. They’re tense and suspenseful and, if done right, can really leave you breathless. However, put in a dose of gore and some smart kills along with compelling backgrounds for its characters, and you might just come across a movie that keeps you entertained for the entirety of its runtime.
Below Zero takes place mostly on a fog-covered road inside a prison transfer van. There are several prisoners, two cops and a madman out for one of them. It’s a mess by the time we realise who the killer is after and heart-breaking when we get to know why he is after them.
All the characters in Below Zero have satisfactory backstories to lean on to, especially Martin, our protagonist, and Ramis, a small-time cop. Their collective backstory is kinda funny, especially when Martin realises that Ramis played in the band on his wedding day. Crazed killer Miguel’s backstory, too, is solid and gives him a reason to seek revenge. However, I do feel the “my daughter was raped” backstory is done to death at this point. People really need to come up with better motives than using something like rape as character motivation again and again.
Surprisingly, Below Zero has next to none female characters. All the cops and prisoners, as well as the killer – everyone is male. I don’t know about you, but the Bechdel test is surely crying in a corner right now.
The story slowly builds from the initial introduction of the characters, which is nice. It reaches its peak just as people start catching fire and only goes up from there. Although there are several moments when the movie loses its tension and feels boring, it picks up pace quickly enough. Below Zero’s only other foe is probably the freezing temperature outside that comes back to bite our characters time and time again. There are some character decisions that seem extremely stupid, and they prove to be so as well, and you’ll just end up scratching your head about it.
However, the almost-ending scene when Miguel tries to drown the entire rig in ice water is quite a fun watch. People’s legs and hands blow up due to shotguns and there’s a gratuitous amount of blood and gore. The effects are nice and seem real. One prisoner bashes another’s head in with a fire extinguisher and its equal parts disgusting and fun. There are horror and foreboding in the way with which the movie creates tension and it successfully keeps you at the edge of your seat for the most part. Before any revelation is made, you’ll probably wonder who could’ve been behind the siege and then take your time ticking off all suspects.
Summing up: Below Zero
The mere definition of a thrilling action movie, Below Zero does all of its moves right. Or that might just be the problem though – inspite of all the mystery, the ending revelation seems predictable. As I mentioned before, a motivation such as this has been used so much that it instils no thrills on the viewers. It almost seems expected, which is kinda sad. However, the description of it is horrifying nonetheless (TW here) and will give you the chills. The movie looks great and the production quality is good as well. It’s an entertaining one-time watch if you’re looking for good action.
Below Zero is streaming on Netflix.
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