Underground (2011): Underwhelming


Sometimes when you find a DVD on sale for five pounds stirling you get a bit excited because you might have just found a bargain. A lot of times the “bargain bucket” can contain some hidden treasures. A wonderfully surprising gem.

Underground is not one of these delightful surprises. In fact, I feel like the price was about four pounds too much.

For as many things that the film did well; prosthetics and the “creature’s” makeup, there were too many other things that drug the film down into the muck and mire of sheer dismal drudgery.

Directed by Rafael Eisenman, Underground never takes off as a film. The acting is atrocious and the storyline asinine.

A group of young people attend a rave at an abandoned Army base. The base, which was shut down after some sort of top secret experiment went wrong and wound up killing a squad of soldiers, houses the result of this experiment, deep underground in a nest of bunkers.

The young people, two of whom are ex-soldiers, get into a fight with what looks like a motorcycle gang; who are referred to repeatedly as gang bangers. When it looks like the soldiers are going to win the fight, more gang bangers come pouring out of the crowd and chase the smaller group into the bunkers.

When they close the door they find a man and woman having sex. They soon find out that they’ve been locked in the bunkers and that the sexy couple are not the only things that they’re sharing the bunker with.

One of the better action sequences and one of the few times you could see.
One of the better action sequences and one of the few times you could see.

A real hodge-podge of a film, Underground has too many problems to really work. The editing really lets the whole thing down, as well as the lighting. Between it being too dark to really see who is who and the editing seemingly done by a sight impaired editor, the action is difficult to follow and the viewer winds up getting as lost as the young people in the bunker.

The acting was wooden and lifeless, a lot like the interaction between the main protagonist and his doctor girlfriend. But I don’t want to single them out as an example; the only actors who seemed realistic were the ones playing the “creatures.”

The plot relies on the old chestnut of a Nazi scientist experimenting on American soldiers. This “scientist” was supposedly an apprentice of Dr Mengele (the angel of death) who is rumoured to have escaped to South America and died. Granted the guy looked like he might be about a hundred years old. But Nazi’s? It would have made for a great black comedy, except this film was so bad, it wasn’t even unintentionally funny.

There were a few things they did well. Some of the creature effects were very good. The overall production value, when you could see it, was good as well. I am assuming that, like a lot of other recent films, that it was shot using digital equipment. Unfortunately high production values alone do not a good film make.

There were way too few scares and the action, when there was any, was again edited poorly and the lighting was even worse. I suppose you could blame the film’s problems on the low-budget, but really in this day and age, that is no excuse. I do  like dark films, but not so dark that I can’t make out what’s happening.

Avoid at all cost, unless you like being over-charged by four pounds for a film.

He's lucky, he won't live long enough to watch the end of this film.
He’s lucky, he won’t live long enough to watch the end of this film.
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