London Film Festival 2015: The Ones Below


Sometimes a film is intrinsically indebted to another. The Ones Below owes such gratitude to Roman Polanski’s pregnancy horror classic, Rosemary’s Baby. Building directly from another film, especially one as renowned and distinctive as Polanksi’s, adds a certain amount of pressure and expectation to a film; unfair or not, audiences expect you to either trump your predecessor or add to its legacy. Unfortunately David Farr’s debut does neither, instead straddling mediocrity from start to finish.

The Ones Below heavily riffs on Rosemary’s Baby’s two central themes: perversion of pregnancy and all-encompassing paranoia. Both films also take place within the deceptively dangerous confines of a suburban apartment. But rather than delving into satanic cults, Farr’s film rests on a much more ordinary set up.

In the classy suburban setting of Islington, London, young couple Justin (Stephen Campbell Moore) and Kate (Clémence Poésy) are having a baby. In the weeks leading up to the due date a new pregnant couple, Jon (David Morrissey) and Teresa (Laura Birn), move into the apartment below. The couples soon bond over their similar situations and proximity, eventually sitting down together for an obligatory dinner party at Justin and Kate’s place. During the meal, a catastrophic accident makes the awkward tensions over garden arrangements the least of their concerns. The psychological fallout of this trauma lingers heavily with Kate and soon leaves her questioning her own sanity as the ones below grow increasingly peculiar…read the rest of the review at Movie Fail here