‘Beneath’ Just Isn’t Scary (Review)
Written by: Daniel Hadley
Directed by: Ben Ketai
Cast: Brent Briscoe, Kurt Caceres, Eric Etebari, Jeff Fahey, Kelly Noonan
When watching Beneath I couldn’t help but make comparisons to Neil Marshalls The Descent and how much of an impact that movie had on me, especially how that film used its excellent setting to its advantage, using the darkness and the claustrophobic tight spaces to instil a sense of real dread and terror. I wish I could say the same for Beneath, but in terms of both dread and terror I was left wanting.
Now for a movie set in a mine to only have two scenes for a total of ninety seconds runtime devoted to the tight, dark and claustrophobic spaces is almost criminal and one of those scenes take place in a bright orange inflatable tent. Seriously? One of the only good things I have to say about this movie is that the acting was pretty good and the characters for the most part were likeable. Now that’s out of the way I’ll move on to the bad which, to put it simply is that the movie just isn’t scary, it has all the ingredients to be scary, but it seems that the mix just wasn’t right and we are left with an inconsistent mess of horror movie clichés and a lack of tension and scares.
Director Ben Ketai (known for 30 Days of Night: Dark Days) puts his stellar setting to little use, miners trapped after a cave in slowly running out of oxygen and being picked off one by one by an unseen presence, whilst not wholly original could make for a great horror movie, but the film relies almost entirely on jump scares and it’s the same jump scare every time: a zombiefied face with a CGI drooping effect will pop out of nowhere again and again. The first time it was fine, but after the fifth, sixth and seventh time it got tiring. Also how many times in a horror movie has a character’s flashlight started flickering only to suddenly light up a scary face out of nowhere? Obvious scares very rarely work and that point is driven home in Beneath
The threat in this movie comes from what I think are long dead miners possessing the survivors but it’s never really explained, which wasn’t a problem. I don’t need everything explained to me to be able to enjoy a movie but most of the time when this happens I’m left asking question and I want more answers. When Beneath was through I simply didn’t care and I just wanted to watch The Descent again.
I actually checked this one out in the early am hours today. I liked it. It wasn’t amazing, but I wasn’t bored and there were a couple of characters and scenes that I was fond of. Wish Fahey would have been used a bit more – despite being present for the entire movie, his character feels a little reserved.