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Ones Below, The


Stars: Clémence Poésy, Stephen Campbell Moore, Laura Birn, David Morrissey

Director: David Farr

A patchy psychological thriller, tense in parts and cleverly worked out, but also fatally slow on too many occasions. Tightened up and trimmed by 10 minutes or so, it could have been a top-class chiller, even though its individual elements conform to all the usual twists and turns of the genre.

Apart from a brief appearance by the heroine's mother (Deborah Findlay), the film is virtually a four-hander. Kate and Justin (Poésy, Moore), expecting their first baby after 10 years together, are newcomers to an upper flat in a Victorian building in London. They've barely settled in before new neighbours move in downstairs. She (Birn) is also in the family way.

Rather against Justin's better judgment, Kate invites Theresa and her rather cold, aggressive husband Jon (Morrissey) to dinner. The evening is uneasy from the word Go, ending in a tragedy that has the foursome yelling obscenities at each other.

Bridges are seemingly mended, but we, the audience, naturally know better. The gas is accidentally left on in Kate's flat, where baths also overflow, and sinister noises are heard on the baby alarm. Breaking in to the downstairs flat, she finds things that disturb her, but which have disappeared when she brings Justin to see.

You may not guess the ins and outs of what happens at the climax, which depends on the faintly unbelievable occurrence of Kate and Justin being separated just before moving to a new apartment, when she's asked him to stay with her. It's all full of pregnant pauses and events that could mean one thing or another. You may enjoy this - but it does need patience.

David Quinlan

UK 2015. UK Distributor: Icon. Colour (unspecified).
87 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 13 Mar 2016