Parents' Guide to

Below Zero

By JK Sooja, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Gory but fun thriller has strong violence, language, nudity.

Movie NR 2021 106 minutes
Below Zero Poster Image

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Is It Any Good?

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There's lots of fun to be had in this violent thriller that twists and turns its way through different genres like suspense, mystery, survival, and horror. Below Zero somehow works either despite all the mashing up of genres or because of it. For instance, the film might first begin with a nod to horror, but then firmly establish a mystery, only to then move into psychological thriller territory, then back for more horror, then transition to a survival kind of thing, then jump back to a reminder of the core mystery, then to a hunter-hunted kind of thing, then back to survival, and so on, before final revelations. This might be the subtle genius of the film, this deft handling of the above and all in one, clear voice and tone.

While the film unfortunately lacks any representation outside of all the light-skinned Spanish men in this film, the acting is gripping, textured, and easy to slip into watching. Gutierrez's Martin is solidly determined to hold onto his humanity while trying to manage a group of prisoners. And Callejo's Ramis takes over every scene he's in and becomes another kind of heart of the film by the end. Further, each character is thoughtfully sketched out and given bits of background and history that are scattered throughout the banter and dialogue. Alliances are shaped and crossed, expectations of characters are toyed with and thwarted, and Martin can never quite fully know who he can trust. The violence and gore could be a turnoff for some, however, as it comes suddenly and brutally, sometimes without warning.

Movie Details

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