|What Lies Beneath
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A good old-fashioned thriller that wears its Alfred Hitchcock pedigree proudly on its sleeve, What Lies Beneath stars Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer as picture-perfect married couple Norman and Claire Spencer, who seem happy and content with a fabulous house, college-age daughter and still-active libidos. When said daughter heads off to college, Claire starts obsessing about her new neighbors, and becomes convinced that the moody husband killed the neurotic wife, and that the wife's ghost has a desperately important message for her. Yes, it's true, there is a ghost, and there is a message, but it has decidedly more personal--and life-threatening--implications for Claire and Norman. Suddenly, that car crash last year that Claire can barely remember and the circumstances surrounding it start falling into place, and Claire begins to realize Norman may have a secret.
Director Robert Zemeckis loads the first half of What Lies Beneath with humorous cheap thrills (the suddenly ringing phone, etc.) that poke fun at Claire's dilemma while simultaneously making you tense beyond belief. Between each goofy thrill, though, is one true one that will make you jump out of your seat, including a bathtub that keeps filling itself. And all the while, Zemeckis subtly telegraphs the fissures in the Spencers' marriage, slowly revealing that all is not well between these two. Yes, it's a blatant Hitchcock homage to movies such as Rear Window and Suspicion, but it's sleekly made, entertaining and engrossing. Ford does his stoic thing well (and looks great doing it), and Diana Scarwid provides a refreshingly lighthearted turn as Claire's best pal, but it's pretty much Pfeiffer's movie all the way, and she carries the film on her not-so-fragile shoulders. And the third act is a suspense tour de force, complete with a breathtaking sequence featuring Pfeiffer and that menacing bathtub. In a time of obvious horror films, What Lies Beneath is an intelligent, fun thrill ride that will leave you breathless. --Mark Englehart
- Edge of your seat thriller.
This is a great thriller you will want to see more than once.
Great twists and turns that will surprise you. You will enjoy this one if you are fans of Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer. Enjoy!...more info
- Blatant homage to Hitchcock, but a fine film in its own right!
"What Lies Beneath" will always be remembered as Robert Zemeckis' homage to Alfred Hitchcock. From the opening credits to the stunning climax, the techniques of the master are unashamedly paid tribute to. The music, the camerawork, the building up of suspense, the characters names etc. are all straight from numerous classic Hitchcock films such as "Vertigo", "Rear Window" and "Psycho". But while it may seem quite stupid to try to copy such a brilliant director's work (the "Psycho" remake comes to mind), Zemeckis has surprisingly created a great film here.
Clair and Norman appear to be a happily married couple. They clearly have money, a beautiful house and a daughter heading towards her own successful career. But when Claire suspects her neighbour of murdering his wife, her world suddenly begins to crumble around her. Not only is she constantly spying on the suspicious activities next door, but she also becomes aware of a presence within her own house. While those around her (Norman included) believe her to be losing her sanity, Claire searches deeper for answers which inevitably leads her to repressed memories that, with the help of beautiful girl long dead, lead her to a shocking revelation that sends her marriage and mental state into turmoil.
When reading the above plot, you may feel that this is nothing new. There have been countless movies over the years with ghosts attempting to communicate with the living to reveal the cause of their demise. In fact, there are plenty of clich¨¦ moments in "What Lies Beneath". But the film is so beautifully and lovingly made that it is thoroughly entertaining nonetheless. Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford are both fantastic and completely convincing throughout. Pfeiffer in particular has a tough role to get through here, having to be both extremely vulnerable and steamily sexual at various times. She is always beautiful, but at the age of 42, she is simply stunning and captivating as Clair. But it's Zemeckis' direction that stands out as exceptional. The film is quite long at 2 hours, but this running time is used to build up the intensity. What starts out as reasonably cheap scares, turn into genuinely frightening ones by the second hour. There are some great set pieces (the bath scene in particular is a classic) and CGI is seamlessly utilized throughout, particularly as a tool for camera trickery.
I know this film has its detractors and I can honestly understand the qualms that they raise. But a good film is a good film in my book, regardless of its origin or blatant worshipping status. "What Lies Beneath" gave me exactly what I wanted with some great scares, masses of suspense and intrigue, topped off with fantastic visuals, sound, acting and direction. What more could I possibly ask for in a thriller!?...more info
- A great thriller
I have to begin by saying that this is one of my all time favorite movies. You are a Hitchcock fan then you will love this movie. It has the same feel of a Hitchcock movie but with modern technology. The acting is wonderful and no matter how many times I watch it I always find something I didn't notice before. It's an excellent film and will make an excellent addition to anyone's film collection. ...more info
- Great Supsense Movie
Excellent movie that will keep you "on your toes." Two excellent actors make having movie nights worth while!...more info
- Very good! [not horrror]
WOW! i love this movie from beginning to end. It isn't an horror movie, it sort of gets you a bit frightened in places, not as it is scary though [where you get wandering on what is going to happen sort of thing} It is all about, well most of it is where a woman finds out truth of something of her husband, won't tell you else i'll ruin the film for you, see it!!...more info
- Plausibility aside, homage to Hitchcock succeeds stylistically
Robert Zemeckis joins the club of directors who have paid homage to Hitchcock with this stylistic and suspenseful entry in the haunted house genre. "What Lies Beneath" finds a geneticist (Ford) and his wife (Pfeiffer) alone together in their spacious Vermont home after their daughter leaves to attend college. While Ford goes off to attend scientific conferences, Pfeiffer stays home - where things get spookier by the day.
References to Hitchcock's films abound, from a plot setup that echoes "Rear Window" to textual and thematic nods to "Rebecca," "Suspicion," and "Psycho." There's even a wink to 1926's "The Lodger" (Hitchcock's earliest success) as Zemeckis shoots key moments from beneath a glass floor.
Ford is no stranger to Hitchcock-influenced films, having starred in Roman Polanski's skillful "Frantic" (1988). But it's Pfeiffer who carries the movie, delivering the gamut of requisite emotions and keeping the film completely watchable even as the plot machinery begins to creak in the film's second act. Red herrings, blind alleys, and pat explanations pile up, threatening to undermine the suspense so effectively generated in the movie's first hour. But Zemeckis rescues the film with an astonishing finale, as exciting as it is implausible. My advice? Dispense with logic and indulge in the guilty pleasures of 'What Lies Beneath.' ...more info
- Hitchcock's ghost
Robert Zemeckis makes his homage to Hitchcock in What Lies Beneath, starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer.
The Spencer's -Claire and Norman- are a supposedly happy and successful marriage. He is a prominent scientist, she's an ex musician that just left her only daughter at college. Free time takes Mrs. Spencer to spy on her neighbors, and from that activity she believes that a crime has been perpetrated next door. Insecure and nervous, Claire's paranoia grows as a series of paranormal events take place in her perfect home: doors open and close, electrical equipment turn on automatically, spectral visions in the bathtub. Are all these things related? That's one of the many secrets the movie hides.
A lonely home, secrets trying to be revealed, darkness, ghosts and the impending sensation that we are not sure what our eyes are seeing, What Lies Beneath has enough elements to hook you up for a scary time. Zemeckis takes advantage from every trick, cliche and ideas to spice the story, until he leaves us with a terrible deja vu sensation. The result is a supernatural thriller cleverly built, part psychological, part ghost story.
And one could very well wonder, when Michelle Pfeiffer sees a spectral reflex on the water, if the ghost we are seeing is indeed Mr Hitchcock.
As soon as the credits vanish, we take a walk from moments of Rear Window, Suspicion, Vertigo and even Psycho. The cinematic references overwhelm us, from the lead man's name, the disturbing music score, the movie's rhythm, the creepy house alone on a hill. Hitch's fans will enjoy tremendously this tribute
Pfeiffer and Ford are two stars talented and very charismatic, whose performances give more depth to the story. Pfeiffer, above all, is very convincing as the housewife victim of a series of inexplicable events. Her terror and her pain are very truthful. Ford is somewhat relegated to a second place.
In the end, the secrets that hide What Lies Beneath are not so interesting. The excess of subplots, tributes and tricks make the movie into a series of brilliant moments that are bigger than the whole. For the entertaining time, we can thank Zemeckis. For the suspense and fear that comes from our inner souls, let's thank Hitchcock, the man that understood that, in a good story, there must lie beneath secrets and emotions too scary to be revealed ever....more info
This is one of the better movies made recently in this genre. It's more of a supernatural-suspense movie than horror. Michele Pfeifer is great as the empty-nested mother who becomes spooked by strange occurences. Is something happening to her or is she going crazy? Either one is an option. It was a good movie with a rather surprise ending. If your looking for something gory or something to jump out at you this isn't the movie for you. Rather it is a very well made, well acted atmospheric movie....more info
- Weak 4 stars for Original Yet Conventional movie
This is director Robert Zemeckis' attempt at a Hitchcock-like suspense movie.
Unfortunately, much of the suspense comes from the old tried-and-true suspense movie conventions of walking backward so you don't see what is in plain view; over-reactive fumbling and bumbling and dropping important things; and the intrusive musical cues.
However, like all Zemekis' movies, this one contains some impressive camera moves and special effects, which include shooting upward through a glass floor.
The acting was pretty good throughout, and most of the success of the movie is due to Michelle Pfieffer's performance. Harrison Ford was good, and played a bit against type.
The movie left a few loose ends untied (such as the situation with the neighbors, and some visions and apparitions), had a few lapses in logic and reality (yeah, I know it's a ghost movie) such as the boat mast poking a hole in the windshield though not breaking it, and some of it was a bit too convenient (one accident at the exact location of a previous accident), and the final scene felt tacked on (think how nicely ambiguous it would be if what lies beneath just sank past the camera...)
Overall, the movie is pretty good and entertaining, and though it started off strong, it tapered off a bit as it got into the second half.
DVD extras include a commentary by Zemeckis and 2 producers, a brief documentary of (mostly other) Zemeckis movies, and text-based cast/crew info.
- A good solid movie
This is a good supenseful movie of the 'old school' very little blood and gore, lots of creaking floors and wind blown curtains. Stylistically it pays homage to Hitchcock in, at times, a not too subtle way.
The acting is excellent, of course, and there's a moody inevitability about the plot that keeps you guessing through one twist after the other.
It was a good (and fun) movie to watch. ...more info
I don't like scary movies. I don't like them for the same reason I don't like rollercoasters with loops in them. Sure-- I know I'll survive the coaster, but that doesn't make it FUN. Ironically, this movie would have BEEN better if it had been scary.
Sloppy sloppy sloppy.
The acting was mediocre, the plot was easy to guess half way through the movie, and once the movie "reveals all," it stutters through some subpar slasher-esque scences for about 15 or so minutes of redundant cheap trick camera angles and constantly annoying music.
Only watch this to complete your Harrison Ford collectin. There is no other reason for it to exist....more info
- A good sleeping aid.
The movie moves very slow at the beginning (and by "beginning", I mean the first 3/4 of the film) and doesn't have much happening plot-wise. Some "surprise" plot twists along the way keep you interested, only to let you down again. They just kind of leave you hanging. There was absolutely no chemistry between the two main actors.
I did give it 2 stars because it picks up pace at the end (action-wise, but not plot-wise) and makes you glued to the screen, wondering what's going to happen next. Its just regrettable that the rest of the movie couldn't have been the same.
At best, a renter. ...more info
- Not at all what you'd expect...
The trailers for this movie suggest one type of movie, and the movie itself is actually a much tamer version of that. All the exciting moments are put into that trailer. Trust me; there are no more scary parts. What's left is a mystery for the wife to solve. A good story, but misleading trailers. It's simplistic and old-fashioned- not my favorite type, but I'd recommend the movie itself because it was good quality....more info
- Finally! A Legitimate Scary Flick!
I don't really like Michelle Pfeiffer's choice of movies, but in the case of "What Lies Beneath," I have to admit that I love her in it as the completely spooked wife of Harrison Ford.
Since this film has been out for awhile, I won't go into too much detail about the story. The general idea is that Ford and Pfeiffer have a visitor in their home by the lake. Pfeiffer thinks it's the neighbor's wife, whom she believed was murdered. Ford thinks his wife is losing it. Scares galore follow, and a twist and turn ending comes to fruition.
The scares in this movie aren't of the "hack-and-slash" gore variety. They aren't even the "boo!" scares found in horror flicks as of late such as "The Grudge." They are legitimate, bite-your-nails scary. There are some of the jump-at-ya type scares, but they are pulled off in a way that tells you that this movie stands out from the pack. It works on your mind while you're trying to solve who the ghost is, then hits you with a wallop of surprises. In other words, you're always trying to be on your guard, but you are never given a chance to recover.
I base how scary a film is on how it affects me after I've watched it. This flick made me uneasy when I went to the bathtub. It made me want to turn on every light. When a movie does that to me, it deserves four stars. I recommend this one to anybody who wants a real scare, not any of the teeny-bopper fluff tossed out nowadays such as "Scream," "The Grudge," and the wretched "Blair Witch Project."...more info
- Not spooky if that's your flavor!!
I thought that the plot of this movie was okay. The movie was entertaining. However, I got a little weary of the suspenseful music used to make the movie scary. This is not a scary movie if that is what some people are looking for. It is entertaining if being entertained is enough. Michelle Pfeiffer annoyed me with that constant silly expression she used to looked spooked! She always had her mouth opened. I think that she was not directed well in her performance. This movie was quite a change in character for Harrison Ford ( who is one of my favorite actors). Not his best performance, but acceptable. All in all, I liked the movie....more info
- What lies!
"What lies beneath" is a taut thriller about a picture-perfect couple (Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer) Their only child is off to college, and everything seems to be okay. They still make passionate love, all is well with the world. Pfeiffer soon experiences eerie hauntings. She thinks she's going off the deep end. Ford appears to be supportive.
"What lies beneath" superbly shows a marriage falling apart. Miranda Otto,who's otherwise famous as Eowyn "I am no man!" stars one of the next door neighbors that Pfeiffer fears for. It's nice to see Otto playing a comic role to balance out the grim subject matter.
"What lies beneath" peels away its layers like an onion. Pfeiffer learns of her husband's dalliance with a student, and things turn for the worse. Ford is pitch-perfect as the narcissistic,and ultimately creepy, husband. What lies beneath... are many lies....more info
- What Lies Beneath
I had watched this movie many times before purchasing this copy! I wanted my own copy in order to watch it many times more without having to rent. The copy sent to me was in excellent condition and I have watched it twice since receiving it. I always jump in the scary scenes, even though I know what is going to happen!...more info
- The movie, finally!
This script (by a different title) was available our local small town theatre group ("Brick Barn Theatre") in the mid-1970's, and while we never made it part of our Summer productions, I fell in love with the story. I found the script a fascinating read all on its own, and was inspired to write more than a few short stories from this premise.
I had always hoped to see the play, or take part in it. To see this now was a truly pleasant surprise.
Add to that the "Star Power" of the actors involved, and you have an evening that will leave you wanting to share this with your friends, and many a good conversation.
The only reason I did not give this a five star recommendation is that the original script was perfect, but could not adapt quite as well into modern times. Due to how our relationships have altered with modern technology, the film loses a bit of its punch.
If you approach this film with a 1970's perspective it will make far more sense.
- 'Til Death do us Part?
Making a good movie of a ghost story is a ticklish business. There is a vast but treacherous chasm between Terror and Horror, and few can navigate it successfully, for Terror is the subtler art of the two, a fact attested to by the rarity of truly terrifying movies about Haunts.
Think about that for a minute. While there are scores of excellent Horror movies awash in buckets of blood and gore that I would happily watch again and again, you can count the truly successful cinematic Ghost Tale on one hand. Why are Ghost Stories, which are the pinnacle of trule tales of Terror, so difficult to put on film?
I think it has something to do with the nature of what terrifies, as opposed to what horrifies: Horror is a visceral and visual art, which repulses and horrifies by sight. Terror, on the other hand, is heightened by the unseen far more than the seen. The good Ghost Tale is the haunt of the guttering candle, the shape in the shadows, the thunderous knock on the wall of an empty room in an empty castle, the dimly heard footstep treading up a lonely stairwell.
Only a few films have gotten this delicate balance right: the original "The Haunting," Amenabar's superbly chilling "The Others", M. Night Shyamalan's "Sixth Sense", and the criminally underrated "The Haunting of Julia", the last of which is not available even on VHS! To this short list of worthy Terror films, I would add, without hesitation, Robert Zemeckis's superb little excursion in sheer spooky fright "What Lies Beneath."
Yes, Zemeckis has studded this simple, frightful little tale with all manner of homages to Alfred Hitchcock, including nice little nods to "Rope", "Vertigo", "Rear Window", and "Suspicion". But Zemeckis, a seasoned and skilled director who has a few trips to the Crypt under his belt, is not overly pleased with his cleverness; instead he spins out a crisply paced, beautifully filmed (cinematography by Don Burgess, who worked on "Terminator 3", "Bourne Identity" and "Forrest Gump")little movie that builds from a lurking sense of unease to a shrieking crescendo of full-bodied terror.
The story is simple. Dr. Norman Spencer (Harrison Ford, grizzled and effectively obtuse) and his wife Claire (played by the always lovely Michelle Pfeiffer) are empty nesters. Their daughter has gone off to college, Dr. Spencer has his genetics research, and Claire---well, Claire has the summer house on the lake, memories, and a little too much time to herself.
Claire quickly becomes caught up in the silence of the lake house, and the profusion of her memories---particularly some she has lost, or possibly buried. And what of her mysterious, reclusive, slightly sinister neighbors? What of the brusque professor-next-door's wife (played briskly by Miranda Otto, who even musters up her frightened eye in service of scares), who evidently lives in fear of her husband? And what of her sudden disappearance during a rainstorm?
Worse still, what of the whispered voices in the house, doors slamming shut, and the bathtub filling up by itself?
All classically spooky stuff, but all legendarily difficult stuff to get right if you want to truly creep the audience out. Zemeckis does it, littering the path to the white-knuckled conclusion (why, on the lake, of course...where else?) with red herrings and a bucketload of ghastly little moments designed to make your bones creep and tingle.
But the pleasure of this journey is the getting there, and Zemeckis realizes that the best horror is painted on a palette of silence. "What Lies Beneath" benefits from its studied atmosphere of the malevolent. And when the Spook appears, as in all good Terror Tales it must, it is deliriously scary.
"What Lies Beneath" joins a select group of truly creepy terrifying films, and like the other members of that good company, this movie is ideal for a storm-swept weekend night with you, a blanket, a cup of hot spiced tea, and a warm and stoic cat.
- Secrets and lies
I wasn't sure what to expect with this movie when it first came out. I've always enjoyed Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer, but wondered what this movie was all about. I was pleasently surprised, as it was far better than I thought it would be, and I didn't anticipate the twists and turns.
Harrison and Michelle play Norman and Claire Spencer, a happily married couple who are adjusting to their new positions in life. Their daughter has just gone off to college, and they are now pseudo empty nesters. While Norman still has his work as a college professor, Claire finds herself a bit bored. Their new next door neighbors have become an object of fascination, as they have passionate fights and reconciliation. Clarie eventually becomes convinced that the husband murdered his wife when she sees some strange things in the middle of the night. After attempting to contact spirits on the Ouija board and some odd goings on here and there, Claire becomes convinced that the wife's ghost is trying to communicate with her. When she confronts the neighbor, he explains, once his wife appears at his side, that he didn't kill his wife. Embarrassed, Claire leaves with her tail between her legs, thinking it's just some paranoid fantasy.
But there really is a spirit trying to connect with her, just one not in association with the neighbors. It's of a university student who disappeared last year named Madison. Who Norman had an affair with. Who Claire walked in on, ran away in shock, had a car accident, bumped her head, and forgot about.
It's a juicy tale, to be sure. It's a good, old school kind of thriller, without blood and guts, and keeps the suspense going until the very end. A good movie to rent some night when you want some lite entertainment and a little horror mixed in....more info
- Harrison Ford Stars in Dog
Whatever homage for Hitchcock was intended, "What Lies Beneath" is not fit to be on the same shelf as "Rear Window." Why? Hitchcock movies are intelligent, winding around the story and characters. "What Lies Beneath" uses spooky music and scenes that jump out and calls it disturbing.
"Ghostbusters" is scarier.
What is disturbing is Harrison Ford's choice to be involved. What was he thinking when he signed on? He's a favorite actor for me. He's starred in "Star Wars," "Indiana Jones," "The Fugitive" and "Mosquito Coast." Good stuff. Until this.
Ford's credibility as an actor is not shaken. He carries each scene of this meandering movie. Bad plotlines are confused as tricky storytelling, and even Ford can't take a Saturday-matinee and turn it into a Friday-night blockbuster.
Does the movie adequately refer to Hitchcock classics? Who cares? That sort of thing is only interesting when the referring movie succeeds on its own. This doesn't. That's the same problem Ang Lee had when making "The Hulk." He spent so much time of mimicking a style that he forgot to make a good movie.
Happy couple lives in Vermont. The wife is being spooked but does not know why. The husband does not seem to understand. The ghost slowly reveals its intentions, and the happy couple's life unravels. The big finish is not expected, and the only redeeming part of this 130 minute couch-sit.
About the story:
Connections are never made as to why the ghost waits a year to do some haunting, and why it took the measures involved. Nor, why it thinks Claire "knows" why she's being haunted when she fully demonstrates she has no idea.
The ghost tries to kill Norman, Ford's character. If that's all it wants, why does it need Claire, Michelle Pfeiffer's character and Norman's wife?
Subplots involving the quirky neighbors are never sorted out.
"What Lies Beneath" as a title is misleading. I can't go into this more for the sake of ruining the story for those of you who will wind up still seeing it.
In all, the movie will be forgotten, played late at night in the time slot reserved for exercise equipment commercials. The movie is not awful, and better than a rerun of that infomercial with Chuck Norris. It is just that Harrison Ford, and costar Michelle Pfeiffer can and have done better.
Looking for a real thriller? See the Hitchcock movies that this is being compared. "Rear Window" with Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly is a great place to begin.
editor, HungarianBookstore.com...more info
- chiller thriller
Next to the ring this is my favorite movie. the only reason i give it one less star is that the first forty minutes are kind of redundant. the rest of the movie had me on the edge of my seat.I mean where the guy has a delusion that his wife is all decrepit made me scream.the effects are also great.great acting too. ...more info
- A good suspense movie, but the trailers spoiled
it for me. It showed too much so that I really couldn't be surprised nor leave me in suspense. However, I liked the movie. It's one of those movies that I would watch on a weeknight.
Let me get to the gist of the movie. In rural Vermont, lives a seemingly happy affluent couple with a college-bound kid. His wife, having recovered from an automobile accident a year ago discovers things that didn't seem right. A falling picture, unlocked doors, uncontrollingly barking dog, and a phantom woman appearing in her bathtub. She first sought help through a psychologist, then a psychic who happens to be her best friend. After weeks of trying, she looked at a newsclipping of a missing girl and finally realized that her husband was having an affair with the college student who is missing. Things went downhill after the discovery. She finds out that her husband was the killer. A struggle ensured until a badly decomposed body came up from the car and free his wife, while leaving her husband to drown. It's a case of reaping and sowing. It's like payback time for deceiving his wife, carry on an affair with a student and killing her afterwards, declaring his wife insane, then finally try to kill her.
His wife finally got her sanity back at the end of the movie.
- A Subpar Delivery From Zemeckis
How can something that was going so right end up going so wrong? That was the question I kept asking myself after exiting Robert Zemeckis' latest film, What Lies Beneath. The supernatural thriller stars Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer as Norman and Claire Spencer, a successful and seemingly happy middle-aged couple whose only daughter (Katharine Towne) has just gone off to college. However, their perfect little life together doesn't last long as a result of Claire's changing mental state.
The question of Claire's sanity first comes into play early on in the film as a result of Claire's obsession of spying on her new next-door neighbors, Warren & Mary Feur (Rear Window anyone?). Based on what she has seen, or rather what she thinks she has seen and the seeming disappearance of Mary, Claire begins to suspect that Warren has murdered his wife. Claire's suspicions are then taken to a new level as strange occurrences begin to happen throughout the house, ranging from doors that open on their own to the mysterious nature of the family's bathroom, which marks the location of Claire's first vision of a mysterious woman, in one of the film's more memorable scenes. Claire is nearly convinced that Mary has come back from the dead, but at the same time still aware of the possibility that it may all just be in her head. As the visions continue Claire drifts further and further away from her former self, while the relationship between her and her husband does the same. Eventually, Claire can no longer take it and must find out the truth for herself.
And then the film takes its first major twist, which I won't give away but was already all but revealed in the film's trailer. The first twist is a good one and really gets the film into gear, ultimately leading to another of the film's more memorable scenes in which we see Claire seducing Norman in a manner that is very un-Claire like given her personality. The scene also includes my favorite shot in the film, which again for spoiler reasons I won't give away (pay attention to Claire's eyes in the scene and you can't miss it) and marks the beginning of the film's next major twist. And it was with this next major twist that the film first begins to fall flat. The film could have gone a number of ways given its psychological and supernatural elements, but instead plays it safe and follows the same old thriller path that we have all grown accustomed too, which just doesn't fit with the flow of the first 2/3 of the film and is extremely disappointing given some of the possibilities that the film's first major twist hint to and could have led to. Despite the lackluster third act Zemeckis, Pfeiffer and Ford are able to pull it off reasonably well given what they have to work with as the final bathroom scenes is another of the film's best. But instead of ending it there Zemeckis can't resist himself, as an additional 15 minutes or so of film full of plenty of "jump" scenes follows. This period of the film is absolutely mind boggling to me, not only because it continued to remind me of how lackluster the film's third act really was, but also because the film's end result is basically the same as the result of the bathtub scene, only much, much less effective.
It's a shame too, as I really did enjoy the first 2/3 of What Lies Beneath. The film is full of very interesting shots throughout, and through the use of its score in association with some of those shots (especially anything focusing on either a mirror or water) was able to produce some genuine terror and suspense especially once the foreshadowing of these scenes has become apparent. Michelle Pfeiffer is very good in her role as Claire, as she pulls off being either scared and or unstable whenever her part called for it without ever appearing over the top. Unfortunately I can't really say the same for Ford, as the script just doesn't give him enough to work with, something that I feel weakens the film's ending even further given the path it does take.
The unnecessary extension of the film, which also happened to be the only problem I had with Zemeckis' Oscar Winning film, Forrest Gump, in addition to the obvious Hitchcock visual and plot references to Psycho, Vertigo and the previously mentioned Rear Window that are laced throughout the film, and the excess and foreshadowing of "jump" scenes are a pretty good indication that Zemeckis was really playing around with both the thriller genre and the audience at the same time. While I enjoyed that to a certain extent, it eventually becomes tiresome, as there was just too much of it by the end of the film and because of it the film itself ultimately suffers here as well. If you're a fan of the genre itself I still recommend this film, as despite its downfalls, I still found it in parts to be more terrifying than most other so called thrillers released as of late. What Lies Beneath isn't a bad film; it isn't a very good film either, but at the same time based on its first two acts alone had the makings of being a great film. If only it had ended 15 minutes sooner and if only had it taken a chance.
** 1/2 (6.5/10)...more info
- I want that part of my life back!!
Quite possibly, the worst movie I've ever seen! I'm not sure what I can say that won't "give the plot away" but I wanted to slap some sense into our hero, who obviously has no survival instincts whatsoever. She did everything wrong--I am genuinely amazed she did not do the cliche "putting on high heeled shoes and walk downstairs into the basement" routine as with so many other "horror" flicks. OMG! This movie is predictable and good only if you want to turn it into a drinking game.
Of my friends (and there are many) NONE of them can say they enjoyed this film! I'm sure that tastes are varied, but nothing astonishes me more than people actually enjoying this tripe. Really? Did you REALLY enjoy it? Come on, you're just trying to improve sales, is that it? Admit it...
Anyway, I'm going back to pretending I've never seen this flick. Do yourself a favor: avoid it, so you won't have to put yourself into shock therapy and spend loads of money trying to forget you've seen it. (We're thinking of holding a support group. Contact me if you're interested.)
Received in good condition and on time. Great price. This was a gift. No problems that we know of....more info
- Great movie
This movie has a little bit
of everything and it is very
entertaining. So enjoy this
one with friends and family.
I recommend this one....more info