What Lies Beneath (2000)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Husband and wife Claire (Pfeiffer) and Norman (Ford) say goodbye to their only daughter, off to college she goes! Claire winds up spending most of her time alone since her hubby is such a workaholic. But is she alone? Spirit manifestations begin to plague her, she suspects her neighbor of being a murderer and some weird stuff is going on with the bathtub…her life has never been this exciting.
Overly ambitious flick that tries to be 10 movies rolled up in one. First, it’s a "Rear Window" knockoff, then a ghost movie, then a murder mystery, then a possession movie and finally, a serial killer movie. It’s so full that none of the elements are explored fully. It’s basically touch and go. The aspect that they concentrate the most on (it takes half the film) winds up having nothing to do with what’s going on. The pace lags, the film is sometime redundant, and the ending is enjoyable but predictable.
The film does manage to creep you out, is filled with BOO scares (they crank up the volume) and has Hitchcock inspirations all over the place (Ford’s name is Norman…hello!). You might say it rips off the master, I see it more as an homage. We get winks to Psycho, Vertigo and Rear Window. It also has a bit of "The Shining", "The Entity" and "Stir Of Echoes" for good measure.
The ghost subplot, now when I think of it is not really important to the film. With a good re write the film could have existed without it. The possession scenario is barely touched upon (why go into it then?) and having Pfeiffer’s character suddenly remember something very important that happened a year ago isn’t plausible. Just another plot device to move the film along.
When all is said and done, the film as more in common with a Big Mac, a large Coke and fries than 6th Sense. All the ingredients are there but don’t be fooled…this is horror fast food not the exquisite cuisine that 6th Sense is. Dig in?
The film gets surprisingly nasty and bloody towards the end.
Michelle Pfeiffer (Claire) and Harrison Ford (Norman) are both solid actors and they deliver the goods. Ford even gets to try new things and he’s awesome at it. Diana Scarwid (Jody) character is very underdeveloped. I still don’t know why she’s in the movie. She also is somewhat annoying
T & A
Does Ford without a shirt count?
Zemeckis goes ape shit. He shows off big time and I loved it. Crazy shots all over the place, he’s great at boo scares and he manages to create a creepy mood. He re creates scenes from famous Hitchcock movies (I loved the shower curtain bit) and uses digital effect subtlety. But Zemeckis is off when it comes to pacing.
A take on the "Psycho" score…very Hitchcock.
Maybe for someone who’s never seen a horror flick this might come across as novel. But I was playing "spot the movie we borrowed from" the whole way through. The film did creep me out and make me jump…but not in an honest way. This flick loves to manipulate it’s audience. I really did enjoy Harrison Ford’s performance and the disturbing, tense finale but all in all this film is nothing to go 6th Sense over. Recycled flick but it means well. Wait for video.
Zemeckis measured the exact distance between the peeper’s house and the building in Hitchcock’s "Rear Window" and used that distance for his own peeper scene.