It Came from Below

Film review by Thomas M. Sipos




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It Came from Below (2021, dir: Dan Allen; script: Dan Allen, Sam Ashurst; cast: Megan Purvis, Georgie Banks, Jake Watkins, Howard J. Davey, Tom Taplin, Becca Hirani)





Four friends enter a cave to prove the existence of a monster. They bicker, split up, get lost, find the monster and more, suffer injuries, and finally struggle to escape the cave alive.

Yes, you've seen it before. It Came from Below follows the usual "cave horror" tropes, most recently utilized in The Descent, The Cave, and even the micro-budgeted Beneath: A Cave Horror Story. Even so, It Came from Below is a well done and throws in a few new twists.

The cast is professional. The production values are slick. It Came from Below was filmed in Britain, I assume during winter. The sky is always heavily overcast, which helps create an atmosphere of brooding menace. This is a sparsely populated film. We see very few people. I assume that's due to the low budget, but this too adds to a feeling of isolation and vulnerability.

We are met with some surprises in the cave. Some of the characters quickly lose their minds and hallucinate. I wondered if maybe there was no monster, just gas or something that caused hallucinations. But no, that seems not to be the case. Actually, I'm still not sure what went on in that cave.

The leader of this expedition, Jessie (Megan Purvis), is a Final Girl. The classic horror trope of the strong, chaste woman who survives. Yet at times she's a silly character and poorly written. Jessie escapes from the cave long before the film's end. She's found by local forest rangers, who advise Jessie to wait for the police, ambulance, and local cave rescuers to find her friends.

Smart advice. But what does Jessie do? She threatens the forest rangers with a screwdriver and broken bottle, lest they stop her from returning to the cave. Jessie insists that she must return now, immediately, to rescue her friends.



Why now? Why not wait for professional rescuers to arrive? Jessie barely escaped alive because she couldn't handle the threats in the cave. Now she wants to go back? And without any additional help, or weapons, or plan of action?

So Jessie returns to the cave. Despite only running 80 minutes, It Came from Below manages to cover the same terrain as both The Descent and The Descent: Part Two. The Final Girl escapes the cave -- then returns to the cave to rescue her friends. Two films for the price of one!

The two forest rangers reluctantly follow Jessie. Too bad for them. We know they're only coming along to provide fresh meat for the body count.



It Came from Below is a silly, low budget film, with some confusing elements. Some of the pieces still don't make sense to me. Critics have observed that Jessie and her friends enter the cave with no equipment other than lamps and cell phones. Despite the lack of a phone signal in the cave, they're intent on recording the monster. They also bring no weapons should they find said monster.

I said this was a silly group. But silly young folk are another horror staple, so I can overlook that. I assumed they planned a quick in & out. Enter the cave, get your monster selfie, then exit. (A really long selfie stick would have proved handy.)

Despite its silly and confusing aspects (blame Dan Allen and Sam Ashurst's script), It Came from Below is nicely shot, professionally acted, with decent gore. David Foxley did a very nice job on his monster design. (See the above poster art.) His creature is properly gruesome, but also distinctive enough not to be mistaken for other movie monsters.

While not a masterpiece, It Came from Below should be pleasantly diverting for cave horror fans.


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