BELOW ZERO is a new Netflix thriller from Spain (org. title Bajocero). It does run a bit too long and asks its viewer to accept too much without explanation. Still, it is certainly an entertaining watch, so check it out if you enjoy crime-thrillers. Read our full Below Zero movie review here!
BELOW ZERO is a new Spanish Netflix thriller with crime and action taking the lead from beginning to end. At 1 hour and 46 minutes, it runs too long for its own good. Especially when certain elements of the story seem a tad too far fetched.
Still, I can’t say I wasn’t entertained, so I suspect many Netflix viewers will be happy with this movie.
Continue reading our Below Zero movie review below.
Between a rock and a hard place
The opening scenes of Below Zero do a great job of introducing the characters. Since the police officer Martin is the main protagonist, we see most of his life. This also means we know what kind of person he is when Martin ends up trapped in a prison transport van with a handful of prisoners.
Waiting outside is a man trying to get in and seemingly ready to do whatever it takes. And kill whoever is in the way. He wants to get his hands on just one of the prisoners, which means we have a mystery on our hands. One that will be revealed but not until the final part of the movie.
In the role of Martin, we have Javier Gutiérrez who is becoming a very familiar face to fans of Spanish movies. He was in the two Spanish Netflix genre movies The Occupant (2020) and Mirage (2018) which offer two entirely different sides of him compared to the character in Below Zero. With his very recognizable face and small stature, he leaves one hell of an impact.
The ending of Below Zero *minor spoilers*
Every movie fan knows that an ending can often do a lot for your overall opinion of the movie. The ending of Below Zero is actually quite good because it offers up a lot of answers. However, it does also leave you with some questions that you never quite get answers to.
The final moments could go one of two ways and I almost wish they’d gone the other way. The way the Below Zero ending plays out just seems very predictable. It would have been braver to go in another direction. Then again, I recognize that a movie like this one is made for the masses. And people wouldn’t have enjoyed a darker or sadder ending.
Still, I do feel that this movie runs a bit too long and ultimately asks its viewer to accept too much without explanation. Just a simple thing like why no one seems to wonder why the prison transport doesn’t arrive at its destination on time? And wouldn’t someone check in with the transport along the way? Both are things that should have been somehow explained.
Also, for a van that wouldn’t start and had flat tires, it definitely manages to suddenly drive. All with just a few quick (and rather far fetched) scenes to explain how. Sure, we see the attacker tightening a few tire bolts and fiddling with wires, but is that really an explanation?! Also, where did he get the new tires from? He only had access to the front cab of the van.
If you think he brought the spare tires with him, then that would indicate a very different plan than “just” getting his hands on the one guy. Also, it would mean he executed his theoretical longer plan very poorly. I mean, he wasn’t exactly ready to get the guy once he got out of the van. It’s just too damn sloppy!
Watch Below Zero on Netflix!
Lluís Quílez is the director and co-writer of Below Zero. This is only the second feature film for Lluís Quílez since he directed Out of the Dark (2014), but he definitely has a good handle on these genre productions. The other co-writer of this new Netflix thriller is Fernando Navarro. He previously co-wrote Paco Plaza’s horror movie Veronica (2017) and the Netflix movie Unknown Origins.
As already mentioned, this new Netflix thriller is from Spain (org. title Bajocero) and I do tend to like Spanish genre productions. I also expect a lot from them – especially in terms of plot and characters. I don’t feel this movie was particularly strong in the plot or character department. However, when it comes to production quality, it was definitely well-made.
Well, except for those scenes in the snow, which looked way too fake. From the lighting to the snow, it just felt like a studio recording in all those cringey ways. Then again, this is such a small thing that I won’t hold it against the movie. It’s just that with a title like Below Zero, you’d expect the scenes in the snow and cold to be a priority.
Personally, I would still recommend that you check out Below Zero if you enjoy crime-thrillers that keep the suspense and tension going.
Below Zero is released on Netflix worldwide on January 29, 2021.
Director: Lluís Quílez
Writers: Fernando Navarro, Lluís Quílez
Stars: Javier Gutiérrez, Àlex Monner, Patrick Criado, Édgar Vittorino, Karra Elejalde, Luis Callejo, Florin Opritescu, Isak Férriz, Andrés Gertrúdix, Miquel Gelabert
When a prisoner transfer van is attacked, the cop in charge must fight those inside and outside while dealing with a silent foe: the icy temperatures.