What Lies Beneath
Dir: Robert Zemeckis
Star: Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer, Amber Valletta
Cert / Year: 15 - PG-13 / 2000
Format: DVD R1

The Sixth Sense has a lot to answer for, as it breathed new life into the supernatural thriller genre. What lies beneath follows this lead.

Claire Spencer (Pfeiffer) is a talented musician who gave up everything to raise her daughter, and look after her husband (Harrison Ford) (who is too busy trying to live up to his fathers reputation). The time has come to let go, and take her daughter to college. This leaves her pottering around the family home with time on her hands. To fill the day she takes an unnatural interest in her neighbour, especially when she thinks he has murdered his wife. Things start to go bump in the night (and day for that matter), and she convinces herself that her dead neighbour is not haunting her. Is this true, or is the ghost a forgotten secret from her past?

In the opening paragraph I compared this film to Sixth Sense, and this is not correct. What lies beneath is more of a cash in on the genre, that is not to say it is bad mealy unoriginal. The plot is a little thin and linear. What plot twists there are, can be seen coming a long time in advance. This is a shame as the characters are on the whole believable an well rounded.

Of the cast Micelle Pfeiffer is excellent. Admittedly she does get the best of the screen time, but she plays her character with conviction. This can be best seen during the possession scenes, and during her psychiatry sessions. It is a shame that the same cannot be said of Harrison Ford. Now don't get me wrong I really am a fan of his, but here he just fails to perform. This is a shame, as in a way he is being asked to perform a duel role, and while he sleepwalks his way through the role of perfect husband, it is in his other role he truly disappoints.

Robert Zemeckis is a director known for his work with special effects (Back to the Future, Who framed Rodger Rabbit and Contact), and here the special effects are of high quality and not over used. The direction of some scenes, especially of these where Pfeiffer is alone in the house, is genuinely scary. It is these scenes that work the best, really building the tension. The effects are used in a subtle way to provide some great shock moments. However (and it is a big however) what is gained by these scenes are lost is in many other boring wordy scenes. With a running time of nearly two hours what is required is generous application of the editing shears. The film would have worked so much better if the running time had been cut by half an hour.

What lies beneath is a good scary story. Never outstanding, but containing some great moments that will make you jump. The flaws of pacing, predictability, and the lack of performance from Harrison Ford help make it average rather than excellent. What lies beneath this review is my opinion that you should give this movie a go.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Picture 2.35:1 Anamorphic A bit grainy which is surprising for a modern film.
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Good 5.1 mix, however the film does not use positioning as much as could be expected.
Features Commentary by Robert Zemeckis
Behind The Scenes Featurette
Cast & Crew Biographies
Production Notes
Verdict Ok transfer and a passable selection of extras make for an uneventful disc.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Back Top Home