Sunday, April 26, 2015

Film Review: Beneath (2013)

Beneath (Review)
United States/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...difficult to recommend to anyone who's fatigued by the same ol' horror."

Amidst her father's retirement, Sam (Kelly Noonan) visits her father's mine to prove herself, but the crew become entrapped after an accident.

Beneath is a very straightforward horror film. The story follows Sam as she visits her father's workplace before his retirement. Of course, the one day she visits, everything goes wrong. So, the crew become trapped hundreds of feet below the surface. Almost immediately, Sam begins to hallucinate, and the rest of the crew follows suit. They see creatures in the dark and they begin to turn on each other. That's practically everything that happens. It leads to a very predictable ending, too.

Beneath isn't necessarily a bad film. In fact, the execution is good. However, Beneath is a predictable and generic film. The characters, the motives, the setting... We've seen it all before. Fortunately, I thought the film was decent enough. Although dark, I did like the setting. It's claustrophobic and creepy. There are a few solid jump-scares here and there. Although occasionally difficult to see, the gore and gory deaths were also good. You only really see a creature once, so that concept doesn't really fly, but the other hallucinations are decent. There are some obvious plot contrivances, but it otherwise plays it safe. As you can see, it's not poorly made, but it's just so generic, it's difficult to recommend. There isn't a second of originality in this film. Really, it's probably one of the most been-there-done-that films I've seen in recent memory.

The acting is okay, too. The cast didn't really have much to work with considering their interchangeable characters and bland dialogue. Kelly Noonan is a passable leading lady, but she doesn't pop with charisma or screen presence. The film can be a little hard on the eyes due to the dark environment -- there was at least one scene where I couldn't see exactly what was going, but it sounded like it was supposed to be scary. The music didn't stand out. Director Ben Ketai is good at crafting scares, especially some jump-scares. Unfortunately, Ketai is working with a generic, predictable, and contrived story that hinders the overall horror.

Overall, Beneath is a decent horror film. It has some good jump-scares, plenty of gore, and some decent hallucinations. The story, on the other hand, is extremely generic and predictable. It really doesn't try anything new -- even in the slightest. I got through it thanks to the decent horror and short runtime, but it's difficult to recommend to anyone who's fatigued by the same ol' horror.
Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore.

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