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BENEATH
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Reviewed by: Ryan Doom

Directed by: Dagen Merril

Starring:
Nora Zehetner
Matthew Settle
Gabrielle Rose

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
A young woman returns home years after seeing her sister burn and eventually die. Now she's been having visions, and sets out to uncover exactly what happened to her sister.
Is it good movie?
I don’t like to think of myself as a prejudice person. Sometimes though, you’ll see things that will make a guy hold a grudge. In particular, when I come across the label “MTV Films”, I shutter. I worry. I judge that DVD by its cover. Sure, they have produced a few worthwhile projects like Napoleon Dynamite, Jackass, and all those dancing movies, but the cumulative sum isn’t impressive, especially after a decade of “reality” programming on their channel. After turning out one mindless show after another, one must assume their label does not ensure quality. Their latest release, a venture into the horror realm, is Beneath, and it didn’t exactly restore my faith. Yes, folks, if the world was short on damaged-psyhic-girl-and-wronged-victim-sorta-ghost-who-needs-a-right-wronged-mystery-type-movies, here’s another for the collection. Of course, only add it to your B section if you’re desperate to collect every film ever made. Granted, there’s some creepy scenes, some cute girls, and the story actually held my attention, but I knew Beneath ends up being a juvenile thriller that’s beyond obvious. At times, it’s as stale as the bread currently occupying my fridge. Perhaps the staleness comes from the main character, Christy, a girl who watched her sister burn, went to the nut ward, and now suffers from visions, which give her insight into the past, where something bad happened to her sister after the accident. Well, it turns out that as she returns home, her brother-in-law lives with his bad mom. But this is the good part, for she’s not just a bad mom, she’s an evil step-mother, and French! If that’s not stale and cliché, than I need an updated dictionary.

Now the joy of a mystery comes from the audience piecing together clues; however, an unsure film continually reminds viewers of important clues, showing evidence by flashing back again and again to remind viewers and say, “Remember this? It’s important to our story!” This device is used throughout. However, one aspect I did enjoy came from the use of cell phones. Here, it works as a sleuth’s best tool: taking pictures, a mini-flashlight, mysterious calls, and key evidence saved – the cell does it all. Christy works like an f-ed up version of Nancy Drew, as she’s determined to find out what really happened to her big sister. She plods along, annoying everyone, and looking like Katie Holmes with equal talent. And frankly, I never dug Holmes. She’s decent, but she doesn’t have enough to carry the film. Particularly a horror flick. There’s a few scenes were she supposedly gets tough and beats down the villain. It’s hard to buy since she probably weighs 100 pounds.
Video / Audio
Video: 16x9 Letterbox Version

Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital
The Extras
No features. Notta one.
Last Call
Beneath isn’t an all out failure, but it suffers from repetition. It’s been done. Much, much better. Perhaps if you’re 14 and don’t know any better, this could be scary, perhaps original. But if you’ve seen a flick or two, there’s nothing new here at all, so watch it for an occasional laugh, particularly the French grandma. Wait, come to think of it, why’s this an R movie? No nudity. No good gore. Not even bad language that I can recall. That’s MTV for you. Too bad Real World cast members weren’t killed off.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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