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What Lies Beneath (DVD)
Member Name: GentleGenius
What Lies Beneath (DVD)
Advantages: Good build-up, lovely location, Cooper the dog
Disadvantages: Acting not up to scratch, far too long, lost me halfway through, gets sillier as it goes on
RELEASED: 2000, Cert. 15
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 130 mins
DIRECTOR: Robert Zemeckis
PRODUCERS: Jack Rapke, Steve Starkey & Robert Zemeckis
SCREENPLAY: Clark Gregg
MUSIC: Alan Silvestri
Michelle Pfeiffer as Claire Spencer
Harrison Ford as Norman Spencer
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Since her car accident, Claire Spencer has been giving her husband Norman some cause for concern.
After her daughter goes away to college, Claire begins to see and hear things in the lovely old house in which her and Norman live, after having inherited it from his father who died a couple of years previously.
Initially, Claire believes the things she is seeing and hearing are as a result of her new next door neighbours getting up to strange things, but after having some therapy and an ouija board session with a friend, she becomes more and more convinced that the old house she shares with Norman is haunted.
During Claire's quest to find out what is really happening, some well-kept and disturbing secrets rise to the surface.
That sets the scene....watch it yourself to discover more.
What Lies Beneath is one of these films where, before watching, I wasn't quite sure what to expect.
From the outset, the scene is set very well. Claire's vulnerability after seeing her daughter off to college plus still suffering the psychological after-effects of a serious car accident two years earlier, shows through. She tries to be strong, but relies heavily for emotional support on Norman, her scientist husband.
The film is set in a beautiful location, in a lovely house by a picturesque lake, and for me that was one of the better aspects once the proceedings got fully underway.
The first half of What Lies Beneath, I found to be quite intriguing, it not being immediately obvious (at least it wasn't to me) whether Claire is imagining things due to her emotional fragility, or whether something spooky really is afoot. As is often the case, Norman - being the man - is sceptical of Claire's ever growing conviction that the old house is haunted.
Once the halfway point was reached, I didn't begin to lose interest in the film as it was entertaining enough to keep me going until the end, but I was expecting something much more powerful and convincing. From that halfway point, I began to get a bit confused as to what was really going on, and wasn't sure how certain things linked up with certain other things....they did become clearer later on, but not in a feasible, or particularly enjoyable way.
As the film progressed, although I wouldn't go as far as to say that the storyline became ludicrious, it did beggar belief on one or two issues, and because things veered off in what for me was the wrong direction, it lost a fair bit of credibility.
Although it was fine at first, after a while, Michelle Pfeiffer's acting began to grate on my nerves. It was as if she herself somehow lost the plot, and it seemed to me that in the parts of the film where her acting should have been more laid-back, she began to over-dramatise - yet, during the parts where I feel she should have let it all hang out (figuratively speaking!), she came across like a damp squib. As for Harrison Ford, he too was fairly OK during the first part of the film, but became less and less convincing, almost to the point of painful ridiculousness, especially towards the end. He just wasn't right for the part at all, seeming like a fish out of water....that role definitely wasn't for him.
The other actors, all of whom are incidental rather than crucial to the storyline, delivered their lines with a wooden quality which I found uncomfortable. From the point during the film where everything began to fall apart after the rather gripping introduction, I was hoping for a miracle whereby at least one cast member would stun me with their acting brilliance, but it just didn't happen. Overall, my favourite character was Cooper, the boxer dog!
However, despite the increasingly weak plot as What Lies Beneath progresses, it did entertain me at least to a satisfactory degree, although I don't think I'd feel inclined to watch it again. It does seem as if this is one of those films that you either love or hate, as I've read very mixed reviews/opinions on various internet websites, but I'm sort of in the middle. It certainly is by no means a great, or even a particularly good film, but is watchable enough to while away couple of hours, although I do feel it could benefit from being shorter as the plot does drag beyond its usefulness.
I'd have enjoyed What Lies Beneath a lot more had it stayed in the vein which the first half delivered, but it veering off into something akin to poorly acted madness did shatter my initial expectations.
In summary, perhaps this film would have fared a lot better with a different production/direction team, a few tweaks to the screenplay and better acting. It is worth watching, but don't expect the rather good beginning to evolve into anything even remotely close to a cinematic masterpiece.
At the time of writing, What Lies Beneath can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from £2.49 to £24.99
Used: from 1p to £2.00
Collectible: Four copies currently available from £1.49 to £4.99
A delivery charge of £1.26 should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Summary: Didn't fulfill my initial expectations