Beneath Movie Review
Written by Becky Roberts
DVD released by Arrow Films
Directed by Ben Ketai
Written by Patrick Doody and Chris Valenziano
2015, 89 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 20th April 2015
Brent Briscoe as Mundy
Kurt Caceres as Torres
Eric Etebari as Masek
Kelly Noonan as Samantha
Caves and mines certainly have a place on the 'eeriest settings for a horror film' list – below woods in the pecking order, perhaps, but in the mix with hospitals, islands and motels.
After all, they're dark, eerily quiet, tightly confined and anything within the realms of our imagination could be lurking in them. Pretty inescapable, too. Ten years ago, The Descent showed us how a cave horror should be done (it's a shame its sequel couldn’t), and it's hard not to mentally playback scenes from it when watching Beneath. The premise is similar: a group of coal miners find themselves trapped 600 feet below ground after disaster strikes, and begin to think they're not alone.
Indeed, influences are flagrant from splintered bones splicing through skin to gals in hard hats.
Beneath revels in atmosphere, making the most of its unnerving setting. Initially, it goes through the motions, with faces popping out of the dark and shadows scooting through patches of light. Suspense soars as the team follow their torches around dark corners, with feelings of claustrophobia rearing its head as they squeeze through narrow spaces.
It's one of those Friday night flicks that'll have you loosening your collar and spilling your popcorn. And more than once. Unfortunately, Beneath throws its all into forging a decent scare factor. And that’s the only thing it can really rely on.
The rest is impersonal, with pretty weak characters and a lack of context letting the side down. While it hints at some character development early on, it never really ventures deeper than names and family ties, so we don't really care who meets their bloody end first. Or, indeed, last.
The enigma behind random cries and machinery sabotage builds some intrigue, but (without giving too much away) its take on the ‘infected’ lacks depth and reason. All-in-all, Beneath is out to scare (and does a good of it job, too) but its narrative potential is largely unrealised. Go see it to be terrorized, not dazzled.