Intense thrills and shivering chills in Netflix’s ‘Below Zero’

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What happens when a prison transport truck is attacked in the middle of the frozen, remote wilderness? The Spanish action-thriller by Lluís Quílez stars Javier Gutiérrez, Luis Callejo and Karra Elejalde.  

“Below Zero” follows the story of Martin (Javier Gutiérrez), a police officer working his first job at a new precinct by driving a prison transport with his new partner, Montesinos (Isak Férriz). When the transport is attacked on a remote road in a foggy forest, Martin must find a way to survive as a mysterious killer (Karra Elejalde), the prisoners and the freezing temperatures threaten his life.  

There are some really great characters and twists in this film. At first, we only sympathize with Martin, a faithful father of two girls and an officer who does things by the book, but as the story progresses, we start to learn about each of the prisoners on board the transport truck. It doesn’t take long to learn that some of the prisoners are more redeemable than others and are justified in their past crimes. One prisoner dreams of opening up his own bar, while another hopes to be reunited with his sister. Even the mysterious killer and Martin parallel each other. They’re two fathers who will do what it takes to protect their loved ones, except Martin has everything to lose, while the killer has already lost it all. The way some of these characters are written makes them much more interesting and gives them depth instead of being two-dimensional, mean-looking men in prison outfits. 

“Below Zero” does a good job at keeping the audience entertained with little variety between settings. A large chunk of the movie takes place within the transport truck, making for claustrophobic action sequences that will keep you on the edge of your seat. When things already seem to be at their worst for the protagonist, the movie and the killer find a way to spice things up and have the situation go even further south for Martin and the prisoners. Whether it’s being set on fire or being in the middle of an intense car chase, the transport truck and its inhabitants really take a beating.  

The film doesn’t really exceed expectations in any one area, but it manages to stay entertaining and suspenseful enough to watch it all the way through. For having a runtime of an hour and 46 minutes, it feels a little slow at times but what really saves “Below Zero” from slipping beneath the ice is its final twist, one that reveals the killer’s true motives and drives the ending home. 

Rating: 3.5/5 

Thumbnail photo courtesy of @Netflix on YouTube.

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