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UNDER THE BED (BLU-RAY)
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Reviewed by: Andre Manseau

Directed by: Steven C. Miller

Starring:
Jonny Weston
Gattlin Griffith
Peter Holden
Musetta Vander
Kelcie Stranaha

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
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 Kindseth).

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.
The Extras
Nothing but trailers (one for this film, one for Morning Mystery, Inbred and American Mary).
Last Call
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).
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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