UNDER THE BED (BLU-RAY)
Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
Steven C. Miller
What's it about
Neal Hausman (Jonny Weston) has just come home from living with relatives for a few years. Why? Because he wound up being blamed for a horrific evening at home where his mother wound up getting killed in a fire. Now he's back home, and re-forging the bond with his little brother Paulie (Gattlin Griffith). Truth is though, Neal's incident came about as a result of dealing with some sort of monster that lived where else but under the bed.
Is it good movie?
Remember Little Monsters? This flick reminded me a fair amount of that
one. A couple of young kids who try to insist that there's something
tormenting them, while the parents don't believe and they're left to
fend for themselves. Although in this flick, there's nothing quite as
horrifying as Howie Mandel or drinking jars of urine.
Anyway, Under The Bed is a bit of a mixed bag, and the tonal shifts
tend to be quite jarring. The flick opens up and seems fairly tame.
Neal's back, and it's immediately apparent that his brother is still
dealing with some sort of haunting presence. In the meantime, the Dad
(Peter Holden) has since snagged a new girlfriend (Musetta Vander) and
doesn't want to hear anything about the haunting, monster nonsense. Of
course, Neal finds himself with a crush on a local gal (Kelcie
Stranahan), and also has to contend with that gal's absolutely horrid
little kid brothers, Richard and Robert (Tyler Steelman and Sam
The real issue I had with this flick is that it's just so inconsistent.
You get the standard, after-school special sort of script that is
reminiscent of old 80s movies, and things are actually kind of dull.
Weston is clearly trying hard to bring his role of the troubled kid to
life, but it just didn't work for me. The whole time, he came off like
Rudy from the Monster Squad to me. I guess it's all about the way the
character was written (and what was with the early 2000s hair?).
On top of a ho-hum "adjusting to regular life" deal, you also have the
Dad's role. I couldn't believe how angry and mean the father character
was- he seemed to exist solely to breathe fire at his kids. Man, that
guy came off mean. By the time he starts coming around and realizes
what's up, I was begging for the guy to go. I mean, a lot of the
character's dialogue was infused with intellect and reason but he just
seemed so damn mad all the time. Sheesh!
This of course brings me to the monster business. First, if you're
looking for answers, you might want to look elsewhere- there's plenty
of conjecture about the origins of the thing, but you never really find
out the "why" behind it. I won't spoil anything about the
monster/presence/ghost/whatever, but holay, I was jarred by it. The
movie's moving along at a typical pace, just towing the line, and all
of a sudden BOOM, it's time for some serious horror. I'm not saying the
monster is particularly memorable or anything, but it's ferocious and
super violent. I'm all for some gore and nastiness, but before the bad
bits happened, I'd call this flick appropriate for a twelve year old.
Once the monster business really starts picking up, it's strictly
r-rated stuff without question. Parents, beware!
Under the bed makes a good effort to build atmosphere, tension and
scares. It doesn't always work because of the strange, disjointed
narrative that never quite decides where it wants to go. With that
being said though, the relationship between the two brothers feels
genuine and grows stronger as the film progresses, and there's no doubt
they're facing a legitimate threat. Although it's unbalanced, it
certainly isn't without merit.
Video / Audio
Video: 2.39:1 widescreen with a 1080p
transfer. Really impressive digital transfer that looks really sharp,
with great colors and black levels. Excellent stuff here.
Audio: DTS-HD MA 5.1 is the order of the
day, and it too is really quite impressive. Great surround work, clear
dialogue, no complaints here.
Nothing but trailers (one for
this film, one for Morning Mystery,
Inbred and American Mary).
To sum up, I'd have to give this one a real "ehh" rating, leaning
slightly towards the negative column. If you're absolutely terrified of
the idea of a monster beneath your bed and don't mind some pretty inane
scripting that doesn't provide a ton of answers, you might want to
check this out. I loved the nostalgic vibe, but didn't dig the
inconsistent tone. Perhaps give it a rent (or digital download, or
hyperdrive, whatever you kids are doing these days).