A likeable bunch of hardworking hard drinking miners, are accompanied by their manager’s daughter, on his last day before retirement, who wants to see where daddy works before she loses the chance. Of course, her timing couldn’t be worse, as they unknowingly breach an unmarked cavity, triggering a cave-in that seals them all deep beneath the rocky earth. This of course is only the start of their problems, and things go rapidly and terrifyingly downhill from there
By now there’s been a fair number of horrors that involve people being trapped underground, and conceptually, it doesn’t offer a lot of storylines beyond panicking protagonists, flooded tunnels, falling rocks, monsters, and claustrophobia. Unless, I don’t know, somebody does one where they find a fairground run by history teachers, or starts a progressive jazz band with a drum playing bear or some ground-breaking shit.
Neil Marshall’s iconic The Descent is probably the standout movie in this field for most of us, and Beneath draws more than a few parallels to it, although without directly ripping it off.
There aren’t any monsters, but plenty of horribly creepy psychological/supernatural scares, ghastly make-up FX, and a cool reference to a morbid tale of olden day miners, whose true story forms the inspirational basis for this film.
What’s best about it though, is the rock solid production and granite performances from each and every cast member. All the characters are believable, and play their parts to perfection with some quality dialogue to chew and even some brilliantly dry humour, at the start anyway. You really feel sorry for them when it all starts going to shit.
Lighting and score work together effortlessly to create a desperate atmosphere of constant dread and unease, also of note is the use of sound, namely the eerie rumbles and strange noises emanating from the earth above, distant screams, and general audio ambience that lends to a thoroughly convincing sense of being trapped down there with them. Those of you with decent systems will want to crank it up a little for perfect viewing. And of course, kill the lights.
I heartily recommend it for anyone seeking an evening of professionally engineered scares.
Director: Ben Ketai
Starring: Molly Hagan, Jeff Fahey, Brent Briscoe, Kurt Caceres
Running Time: 89 mins
Release Date: 20th April 2015