A pyschological tussle between two pregnant couples makes The Ones Below a chilling and excellently acted watch
“In London, you never know your neighbours”
David Farr’s The Ones Below may be relatively short and self-contained but it manages a lot within that slow-burning space. Justin and Kate are a well-to-do upper-middle-class Islington couple expecting their first. Teresa and Jon have just moved into the flat below theirs and are nominally in the same position, though their pregnancy has been much more hard-fought.
But as they straddle the lines between neighbours and friends, working out if they actually like each other, a tragic turn of events entirely resets this relationship. And the small differences – in their social standing, their attitudes, their own marriages – suddenly becomes magnified as they find themselves diametrically opposed in a psychological battle for the sanity of one of them.
Stephen Campbell Moore and Clémence Poésy are great as Justin and Kate, their breezy existence the one being really challenged here. But David Morrissey and Laura Birn’s Jon and Teresa are creepily excellent as the neighbours whose behaviour turns ever more hostile, the pair of them amping up the creepiness in great style.
Writer/director Farr constructs the layers of suspense here very well, even if there’s not too many surprises in the plotting. Similarly, there’s a contrivance or two towards the end but it is small change in the grand scheme of a highly effective film.