A bad movie that knows it’s a bad movie can be a wonderful thing. Case in point being such gems as Velocipastor, Zoombies, Zombeaver, and more famously Sharknado. A bad movie that doesn’t seem to realise that it’s a bad movie, however, can be a painful watch. Sadly, Beneath falls into the latter category.
I’m not sure if all involved laboured under the illusion that they were making a credible piece of cinema, but the movie is completely devoid of any semblance of self-awareness that it’s a painful watch from start to finish. I liken it to watching an episode of some awful reality tv competition, like The X-Factor, where you have some delusional fuckwit standing on a stage belting a song out, full of ill-gotten self-confidence, when in reality they are horribly tone-deaf. In their head, they sound like Whitney Houston. In reality, they sound like that scene in Jaws where Quint gets everyone’s attention by scraping his fingernails down a chalkboard.
The story (and I use that word loosely) involves a group of friends heading off for a weekend on a lake. The only way to reach their destination is to cross the aforementioned lake in a tiny rowboat. Once on the water, the shit hits the fan as they come under attack from something that lurks in the murky depths. The rest of the movie is spent with our dim-witted bunch as they argue, argue again, and then argue some more before throwing each other to the Lions (well, fish in this case).
Let’s start by looking at our hapless heroes. Right from the get-go, it becomes obvious that there isn’t one likeable character amongst them. I wanted every single one of these jackasses to suffer and die as horribly as possible. You have the jock (he’s an asshole), the jocks equally jock brother (he’s an asshole), the specky film nerd (he’s an asshole), the first jocks girlfriend (she’s a manipulative bitch and a total asshole), the kid who is in love with the jocks girlfriend (he’s an asshole who knows more about the lake than he’s letting on), and finally, the random, cannon fodder girl who exists purely to die first (she might be an asshole, but she doesn’t live long enough for us to find out).
I mentioned Jaws earlier. Now, while I love Jaws, Spielberg was smart enough to know that his shark looked a bit iffy. To counter this, he kept Bruce hidden for the first half of the film, adding a touch of mystery to the creature so that when it finally showed up, we were so invested in the movie that we could forgive the fact that the shark was obviously made of rubber. Low-budget movies have often incorporated this same trick to mask the shortcomings of their creatures. Sadly, nobody told the crew of Beneath and we get to see far too much of what is basically a big rubber mackerel with bad dentistry. Seriously, tuna are bigger than this thing. It looks hilarious.
Even more ridiculous than the stupid rubber fish are the death scenes. People literally die because the killer haddock has nipped their arm. One character manages to strangle himself to death in the most preposterous, easily avoidable boating accident ever. When they’re not busy dying, they spend the rest of the film fighting. There is zero comradery between the group. They all seem to hate each other. The slightest sign of a problem and they resort to squabbling over who they are going to sacrifice to Nemo’s aggro cousin rather than pulling together to figure out a way out of the shit. It’s utterly baffling how or why these shitheads are “friends”.
I like silly films. I like bad films, and I always enjoy a good creature feature or man vs the worst of nature movie. Beneath doesn’t cut the mustard. It’s terrible on every level. There is nothing that redeems this movie, and I can’t stress emphatically enough how much it should be avoided. I feel like I took one for the team in watching this garbage so that others won’t have to suffer the way I did.
If, however, you read this and decide to sit through it, anyway; I did my best. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.