Movie Name: What Lies Beneath
Release Date(s): July 21, 2000
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Dr. Norman Spencer (Harrison Ford) and his wife Claire (Michelle Pfeiffer) seem like the perfect couple…but there are problems at home. Claire’s daughter Caitlin (Katharine Towne) has just gone away to college after a rough year which involved a nearly fatal accident for Claire. As Claire tries to get her life back and start down a new road, she begins seeing signs that her new home might be haunted. The ghost seems bent on contacting Claire, but Claire doesn’t know why…and knowing the ghost’s motives could be the only way to stop it.
Directed by Robert Zemeckis, What Lies Beneath is a supernatural thriller. The movie received mixed reviews from critics but was a box office success.
What Lies Beneath is one of those generic thrillers. It has its good points, a few jumps, but for the most part it is forgettable. I saw What Lies Beneath soon after it was released. I found that the parts I did remember of the film held up, but most of the movie was a snoozer. Due to the nature of the film, a *****Spoiler Alert***** is in effect for the rest of the review.
The movie feels like a really long episode of Night Gallery or something. While the conclusion of the movie has the great, tense scene of Michelle Pfeiffer paralyzed in the bathtub, it feels like a long, long road to get there. I do like that Harrison Ford plays a bad guy for a change. It isn’t a surprise when this is revealed, but it is a pleasant change in character.
Pfeiffer and Ford are fine. Both actors are generally solid actors, and you get what you expect from each of them in every movie they are in. It comes as no shock that in this movie, they make a good couple, but it also seems like obvious casting choices (other than making Ford a villain as stated above).
The movie feels like it should have been more visual. Zemeckis chose not to use modern visual effects and harkened the style to Hitchcock complete with the blonde heroine. The plot just doesn’t have the clever nature of Hitchcock nor does Zemeckis do any real stylized shots. The bathtub scene really works and you can see Hitchcock in it, but the movie just can’t keep interest up to it.
What Lies Beneath is a basic thriller. A lot of criticism was put toward the trailer which gave too much away, but the movie feels pretty obvious while you are watching it…complete with plenty of red herrings. You can find better thrillers, but What Lies Beneath definitely isn’t one of the worst.
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