Newest Reviews
Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
Windom's Way
True Don Quixote, The
Mitchells vs. the Machines, The
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Unholy, The
How to Deter a Robber
Offering, The
Enola Holmes
Big Calamity, The
Man Under Table
Freedom Fields
Boy Behind the Door, The
Swords of the Space Ark
I Still See You
Most Beautiful Boy in the World, The
Luz: The Flower of Evil
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
Night of the Sharks
Werewolves Within
Newest Articles
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
  What Lies Below Who's Your Baddie?
Year: 2020
Director: Braden R. Duemmler
Stars: Ema Horvath, Mena Suvari, Trey Tucker, Haskiri Velazquez, Troy Iwata, Olan Montgomery
Genre: Horror, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Liberty Wells (Ema Horvath) is a moody sixteen-year-old with a passion for archaeology, which is why she has been attending this summer camp, but now it is over and her mother Michelle (Mena Suvari) arrives to pick her up. As they drive back to the lakeside house they inherited from Libby's grandfather, Michelle does her best to buoy her daughter's mood, because there is something she is not telling her that becomes very obvious once they draw up to their destination and get out to survey the lake. Someone is emerging, someone very buff and handsome, someone Michelle announces as her new boyfriend, John Smith (Trey Tucker), and Libby is immediately conflicted: he is certainly good-looking, and a scientist to boot, but is he too good to be true?

If that sounds like something out of a teenage girl's young adult novel, then you're not far off since that appeared to be a conscious decision, but if you were aware this was a horror movie, you might have a different expectation from What Lies Below - and that title and opening sequence would alert you anyway. If you remember that eighties slasher movie cult favourite The Stepfather then you would be along the right lines, except in this, that suspicion of the daughter for her mother's new beau was transformed into something more akin to a Lovecraftian shocker. The fact that you would be ahead of the characters could have been a drawback, yet as it unfolded that forewarning developed into a pleasingly shivery, creepy item that was well aware you were well aware.

This added a note of complicity for the audience with the movie, not that we were yelling at the screen to Libby to get the hell out of there, though that would have been sensible advice, more enjoying the atmosphere of building dread, that despite it featuring a conclusion that did not explain as much as some would like. All you really needed to know was there was some kind of experiment going on, since as John likes to remind Libby, he is a scientist, as if that excuses all sorts of abuses. On that subject, the unwelcome possibility that he was using Michelle to get to her daughter had echoes of abusive partners who take advantage of situations in a sexual manner, but that did not transpire as John's goal, his dedication was to his laboratory in the basement, which is ostensibly to study lampreys taken from the lake.

It's all about dwindling freshwater versus the encroaching saltwater, a real world concern, for the studly boffin, so he could pass for an environmentalist, yet as Libby discovers, he could also do a pretty good impersonation of a pervert, the first indication that all is not right with Mr Right. As Michelle announces an engagement, John has taken her offspring out onto the lake in a dinghy, and when she has a menstrual accident, his reaction is unpleasant, to say the least, only he keeps up his fa├žade of decency which is slipping ever more. What Lies Below (not to be confused with Robert Zemeckis's What Lies Beneath) was a slow burn in the main, but once the finale showed up it went agreeably bonkers, assuming you did not mind a heavy dose of nastiness where not everyone got what they wanted. There were grim laughs, the mother-daughter relationship was believable, if a tad soap opera, and performances all round were accomplished, just the right side of camp. It would never be a blockbuster, but it entertained on its modest, absorbing level. Music by Gavin Keese.

[Signature Entertainment presents What Lies Below on Digital Platforms 22nd February 2021.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 351 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf


Last Updated: