Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
Audio format: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Editor’s Note: Beneath the Darkness was released on Blu Ray and DVD by Image Entertainment on February 28th, 2012.
Apparently there was a whole room of people that thought Beneath the Darkness was a good idea. Good enough to spend over $7 million on the budget alone. With today’s technology and creativity, you know what kind of amazing low-budget wonder flick we could have had with that kind of money? Unfortunately that money was placed onto the laps of the Austin-based writing and directing team, Bruce Wilkinson and Martin Guigui. What we get instead is a superfluous idea, and another lame entry to the thriller genre.
Even from the opening minutes there’s a sneaky feeling of this whole thing leaning on the absurd. Ely (Dennis Quaid), in a sequence of some unintentional hilarity, forces a man to dig his own grave, and then buries him alive. It’s pretty convenient since we find out he’s the small town’s funeral home director. We flash-forward two years later to focus on a group of teens, led by the all-too-obvious hero Travis (Tony Oller). Along with his best friend Danny (Devon Werkheiser), the school’s star quarterback Brian (Stephen Lunsford) and his girlfriend Abby (Aimee Teegarden), the quad core decide they want to check out a haunted house after hearing about (and being inspired from) Travis’ one-time encounter with a ghost. The house in question? Ely’s of course. And as luck would have it, they do find a ghost in the form of something sinister.
Then again, the idea of something sinister for this movie might as well come from a poorly run flea market. One of the worst thing things a script can be is genre confused. For almost all of its 96-minute runtime, the movie feels like a constant tug-of-war, trying to decide if should be a teen drama or a spine-tingling thriller. It fails on both counts, more so on the thriller part. The story/script is so slapdash in its approach and execution, the sudden appearance of a clown wouldn’t have surprised me.
One of the worst things a script can be is genre confused. For almost all of its 96-minute runtime, the movie feels like a constant tug-of-war, trying to decide if should be a teen drama or a spine-tingling thriller.
This all oozes on the screen without a proper filter, and how does one make a movie based on an incapacitated script? Why by having really, really close intrusive camera angles! Director Guigui must have heard that somewhere. Half the time the focus is lost on our actors trying their best to bring us into their horrible situation, then put more on their nostrils. I’m not joking. Appalling shot compositions aside, the direction can’t even seem to get the characters in proper synch. Pure example: two of the characters were dating in one sequence, now they’re just friends, even though they never address it to the audience. Like it was none of our business.
But the real stab to the knee with all of this is the fact that movie stars Dennis Quaid. Though he’s made some questionable choices in career, he’s still one of the most solid, exceptional actors out there today. Even with all that, he’s dragged down to the movie’s cartoonish level, and holy damn it’s an ugly sight to behold. Maybe it’s cardinal law that every great actor should have that one performance he/she’s not proud of, but this is just too much.
But the real stab to the knee with all of this is the fact that movie stars Dennis Quaid. Though he’s made some questionable choices in career, he’s still one of the most solid, exceptional actors out there today. Even with all that, he’s dragged down to the movie’s cartoonish level, and holy damn it’s an ugly sight to behold.
If this is a movie that is made for, and aimed properly for Lifetime audiences then that’s fine. I understand there’s a market for that. But no, this seems to be aimed at the thrill seekers and even the horror fans. Really? Was there not a point during the editing, or even the distribution process, that aiming for those demographics was just a super bad idea? Do they have any earthly idea what horror peeps do to movies like this? The words ‘rip’ and ‘apart’ seem to come to mind instantly.
[notification type=”star”]33/100 ~ AWFUL. Talk about an improper use of a dream independent budget. It’s too silly to be taken seriously, and suffers from a horrible case of genre confusion. A movie not knowing what it wants to be is a horrible sin. This could easily qualify as a laugh riot, except it stars Dennis Quaid. That just makes it sad.[/notification]