The Ones Below (2015)

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“A couple expecting their first child discover an unnerving difference between themselves and the couple living in the flat below them who are also having a baby.” — IMDb

I think my biggest praise for this movie — definitely more of a psychological thriller than a horror — is how damn uncomfortable you feel during THE ENTIRE THING. From the first couple scenes, including ones where soon-to-be parents Kate (Clémence Poésy) and Justin (Stephen Campbell Moore) are excited about their new baby, you just KNOW something is afoot. The director, David Farr, did a great job of using very subtle hints here and there without making it too overpowering. It’s eerie and unsettling throughout.

Their new downstairs neighbors move in and while everything seems picture perfect at first, you very soon start to see some very disturbing cracks in their too-good-to-be-true facade. It goes from simply awkward to downright terrifying pretty quickly, but so many lines are blurred in this movie that you really have a hard time being sure of anything: are Theresa (Laura Birn) and Jon (the excellent David Morrissey) as truly ruthless as we think, or is Kate just suffering from paranoid, sleep-deprived delusions? As we watch her sink deeper into her conviction that something is seriously wrong, you feel both compassion and cringing, which is impressive.

Each character in this movie has their own distinct and brilliantly acted personality. Theresa is a bit over eager but ultimately very vulnerable and earnest. Jon is brusque and conservative. Kate is attempting to pull together a confident demeanor while feeling around in the darkness that is new motherhood, and she’s instantly likeable. And Justin is just trying to keep things together between work and Kate’s increasing paranoia and erratic behavior — you can feel how thinly he is stretched by it all.

The ending is heart-wrenching to say the least… so well done that I sat with my hands clasped over my mouth as I gasped. Just awesome from top to bottom.

Rating: 8/10 | Director: David Farr | Music: Adem Ilhan | Starring: Clémence Poésy, David Morrissey, Stephen Campbell Moore, Laura Birn

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