Beneath
One Star (out of five)
2013. Released by Shout! Factory. Running time 90 minutes. Not Rated. Has English subtitles and closed captions. The DVD has a commentar and special features. This was reviewed on DVD on March 27, 2014.

Thar she blows! Just like this movie.... Beneath is one of the really bad films that give horror movies a bad reputation. A group of friends go out on a lake excursion for one last time before they all break up to go off to college and whatnot. But what they donít realize is that thereís a giant rubbery fish with dull, lifeless doll eyes that begins to stalk them, one by one. One of the kids--the Creepy Kid--is even warned about the danger by an angry old guy, who was a tired old clichť even back when the Friday The Thirteenth series was still using him. Everybody piles into a rowboat to go across the lake to party on an island, but when they dive into the water for a swim, the Creepy Kid doesnít bother to warn them about the killer fish.

Keep moving, fish! There's nothing to see here! Of course, the fish starts chomping down on everybody, and after the first kill, they lose an oar in the water. But the oar is floating near the boat, and they could just use the oar that they have onboard to just pull the other oar towards them, right? Oh no, they canít do that! Because that makes too much sense! Besides, how can the fish attack if they donít have their hands in the water? Beneath is one of these unintentionally funny films where the cast is yelling and screaming about how helpless they are because theyíre so far from shore--when, in some shots, the shoreline is right behind them, and it looks like itís barely five feet away.

It's ok, I speak rubber fish! Hang on, I'm gonna try and make peace with it! Eventually, things take a dopey reality show turn when the survivors start voting to throw people over the side to keep the fish busy while they paddle for their lives. Itís easy to do the first time, when they throw over the body of one of their dead friends. But when the fish proves to have a voracious appetite, they start voting to toss live people. This is a ploy by the filmmakers to try and create drama ("your girlfriend was sleeping with your brother!"), but it falls as flat as the lakeís surface, thanks to the atrocious acting that, paired along with the crummy writing, makes a film thatís 90 minutes long feel like itís three hours.

Somebody please remind me how the hell did the fish kill that guy, again?! As if all of this wasnít bad enough, the fish itself is just ludicrous to look at. Iíve seen better looking monsters in the toy isle of my local Shop Rite. You would think the filmmakers would have followed Spielbergís lead in Jaws by not showing the monster, and build suspense by the mere suggestion of it. But when one of the characters mentions Shark Night 3D by name, itís easy to see who the Beneath guys used as inspiration. At least director David Ellis gave us a lot of hot babes in bikinis to offset the silliness in Shark Night; here, weíre stuck with a boat-load of whiny brats who you canít wait to see die horribly because theyíre so vapid and lame. Skip this one. --SF

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