Beneath

Director - Larry Fessenden

Cast - Daniel Zovatto, Bonnie Dennison

Country of Origin - U.S.

Discs - 1

Distributor - Shout Factory

Reviewer - Abraham Phillips

Date - 03/14/14 (Happy Pi Day)

Plot: Six high school seniors celebrating with a day's excursion find themselves on a rowboat attacked by a man-eating fish and must decide who must be sacrificed as they fight their way back to shore.

 

Film (3/5)

 

This is a fun example of a yesteryear b-movie creature feature film. It captures a claustrophobic feel as college students are trapped on a boat in the middle of the lake. And yes hunted by a giant rubber fish, yes you heard me.

 

Directed by a wonderful independent horror director Larry Fessenden. He has a visionary talent in creating for the screen and for the audience a classical sense of horror. The old-school horror, the creature feature horror, the monster in the darkness type of film.

 

He has crafted other films that I really enjoyed for their originality and overall fear and dread. He wrote and directed and starred in 1995's unique Habit and wrote and directed 2001's Wendigo and wrote and directed the true underrated Horror gem The Last Winter (2006).

 

This film has gotten many negative reviews and for people that don't enjoy old-school creature films like Piranha, I could see why negative reviews have happened. This plays out for the old school on the idea of a helpless situation. Sadly the concept of a creature does not fly to well anymore. Sadly people want buckets of gore and torture porn, not a survival and helpless situation mixed with fear and terror as a killer monster does his deed of horror. We tend to forget the old days of childhood watching rubber monsters fight each other or come from the black depths of a lake.

 

I grew up with old-school creature feature cinema. The drive-in and the late-night shows, the spook flicks of golden years. This plays out like those wonderful mid Saturday afternoon festivals on tv or midnight hosted monster fest. I'm all for creature films.

 

This reminded me of a segment that would be in a Creepshow movie. All the characters work.

 

You have all the characters that you expect in a film where young people go out and get stranded. You have Johnny a somewhat loaner, shy type character with a past. You have Zeke the nerd who is the film buff and who has a camera filming the weekend. He wishes to be the next Dario Argento. You have Kitty the cheerleader type blond. Matt the jock and his jealous brother Simon both fighting to be the alpha male. Then you have the lesbian type.

 

Now Johnny has invited his friends to his grandfathers land with a lake. They've all graduated and are all about to go their separate ways. What Johnny doesn't tell them is, the lake he's taking them to has a secret. A so-called creature. A monster in the lake.

 

Johnny runs into a local man Mr. Parks who is played by the acting veteran Mark Margolis. Johnny knows the warning. Mr. Parks reminds him of the dangers. Johnny believes the legend. The others are your typical jocks and basic party asses. Johnny is the rational one who respects and understands the land and the legend.

 

The terror begins as Matt, Kitty and Deb enter the water against Johnny's wishes. Soon the party halts and the classic creature in the depths begin.

 

Old school entertainment. Fans of classic creature films will enjoy. I remember waking up on Saturday mornings and after wrestling and Saturday cartoons the mid-afternoon feature was something that involved a giant monster, weather it was a dancing Godzilla or a mechanical King Kong or Roger Corman carpet covered creatures; it always had me glued to the tv tube.

 

The special effects where done amazingly by the wonderful Fractured FX Inc who has done such greats as The Conjuring, Insidious 1 and 2, Dark Skies and others. Even though this was a retro rubber monster throwback it still captured the great creature feature mentality.

 

The characters ultimately are truly annoying and you really can't like any of them when the truth of each showcase there true colors.

 

There is a moral setting to the film believe it or not. Yes it's about a giant rubber eating fish but it also showcases how people react and how there true human side comes out when survival is at hand. The true inner colors of choices right and wrong.

 

Audio/Video (5/5)

 

Great audio and crisp video create a perfect setting.

 

You get a Audio choice of:

5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio

2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio

 

Extras (5/5)

 

You get the special: Look behind Beneath making the fish movie. You also get outtakes, posters and Premier.

 

You get a special called What the Zeke? It's the film nerds camera diary of events at his school and also his post diary production of his movie Zombies Vs. Werewolves vs. Ninjas, might I add I would pay to see that. This is a great special feature, funny and wild and gives more indepth to the characters of Beneath.

 

Next you get a video titled What's in Black Lake. A man filming himself talking about the legend and how he feels the creature has been covered up. Its interesting because it stars Larry Mr. Director himself. This also gives more back story to the film. Also one of the video feeds is the aftermath of the movie.

 

You then get a retro peak back at Fessenden on Jaws. A Stop Motion Puppet ordeal of Jaws. Then you see the boat that was built and fashioned after the boat in Jaws.

 

You then have Audio Commentary with director Larry Fessenden and sound designer Graham Reznick.

 

Overall (3/5)

 

Classic retro style creature film. Sadly many are filled with negativity toward it. To me the only major flaw to the film was the time. I felt it was too long of a movie, it could've been cut by 20 minutes and easily could have been an hour episode of a television series or part of an anthology film.

 

A daisy duke wearing, hatchet carrying, blood drenched, blond bimbo, fighting a rubber fish, need I say more.

 

This is brought out by the wonderful studio Shout Factory who I absolutely love the releases of films. They give such beauty to the artwork and the special features. They bring out classic horror, classic sci-fi, retro, to action and beyond. They're amazing at what they do to their DVDs and Blu-ray's and this is no exception, they gave great Grade A treatment to Beneath.

 

Those who understand the quality and the reality of what was trying to be done and how it did succeed with the ultimate b-movie mentality and the over the top rubber giant monster fish, will enjoy it.