For as long as I have loved movies Robert Zemeckis has been one of my favorite producers and directors in all of Hollywood. Yeah, you can point to Forrest Gump and Back to the Future all you want but the man has been behind other productions that are just as entertaining – even if they are somewhat forgotten these days. Romancing the Stone is a great action comedy flick and the series Johnny Bago was tragically underrated and never given a chance to reach its full potential. The man has even worked on some decent horror productions as well; The Frighteners is proof of that. Despite all of that, I was a bit apprehensive about watching What Lies Beneath.
I think my apprehension about the film comes from all of the big name talent surrounding it. It stars Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford and was distributed by DreamWorks Pictures. I was concerned that this movie would be too mainstream to be an effective horror title.
Was I correct? Well, sort of. Under no circumstances is What Lies Beneath a bad movie. I can even see why some people would think it is enjoyable. I just found the whole movie to be a bit bland.
Claire Spencer (played by Pfeiffer) is enjoying a great life. Her husband Norman (Harrison Ford) is an accomplished doctor and her daughter is off to begin college. Despite this seemingly ideal situation, Claire has a lot on her mind. She suspects her new next door neighbor is abusing his wife. And now she is seeing reflections of a woman that looks a lot like her. Claire investigates who this person is; she begins by using a Ouija board and then tries a more modern research tool – the world wide web. Claire learns that this woman is named Madison Elizabeth Frank and she has been missing for quite some time.
I should probably stop talking about the plot here as there is a mystery involved here and I do not want to inadvertently ruin the clues for you. What I will say is that What Lies Beneath has almost everything it needs to be a really good movie but it doesn’t quite work. Harrison Ford seems disinterested in the project for most of the movie and most of the thrills come from cheap jump scares. The ending is quite worthwhile though so the movie has that going for it.
What Lies Beneath does not have to much to offer a longtime horror aficionado but it is a fairly safe movie to watch with friends or family members who are not normally fans of the genre.