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A good old-fashioned thriller that wears its Alfred Hitchcock pedigree proudly on its sleeve,What Lies Beneathstars Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer as picture-perfect married couple Norman and Claire Spencer, who seem happy and content with a fabulous house, college-age daughter and still-active libidos. When said daughter heads off to college, Claire starts obsessing about her new neighbors, and becomes convinced that the moody husband killed the neurotic wife, and that the wife's ghost has a desperately important message for her. Yes, it's true, there is a ghost, and there is a message, but it has decidedly more personal--and life-threatening--implications for Claire and Norman. Suddenly, that car crash last year that Claire can barely remember and the circumstances surrounding it start falling into place, and Claire begins to realize Norman may have a secret.

Director Robert Zemeckis loads the first half of What Lies Beneath with humorous cheap thrills (the suddenly ringing phone, etc.) that poke fun at Claire's dilemma while simultaneously making you tense beyond belief. Between each goofy thrill, though, is one true one that will make you jump out of your seat, including a bathtub that keeps filling itself. And all the while, Zemeckis subtly telegraphs the fissures in the Spencers' marriage, slowly revealing that all is not well between these two. Yes, it's a blatant Hitchcock homage to movies such as Rear Window and Suspicion, but it's sleekly made, entertaining and engrossing. Ford does his stoic thing well (and looks great doing it), and Diana Scarwid provides a refreshingly lighthearted turn as Claire's best pal, but it's pretty much Pfeiffer's movie all the way, and she carries the film on her not-so-fragile shoulders. And the third act is a suspense tour de force, complete with a breathtaking sequence featuring Pfeiffer and that menacing bathtub. In a time of obvious horror films, What Lies Beneath is an intelligent, fun thrill ride that will leave you breathless. --Mark Englehart

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CastHarrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer, Miranda Otto, James Remar, Katharine Towne
DirectorRobert Zemeckis
Screen WriterClark Gregg, Sarah Kernochan
DVD Release Date:  January 30, 2001
Runtime:  130 minutes
Studio:  Dreamworks Video
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review by . November 10, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
I don't really like Michelle Pfeiffer's choice of movies, but in the case of "What Lies Beneath," I have to admit that I love her in it as the completely spooked wife of Harrison Ford.    Since this film has been out for awhile, I won't go into too much detail about the story. The general idea is that Ford and Pfeiffer have a visitor in their home by the lake. Pfeiffer thinks it's the neighbor's wife, whom she believed was murdered. Ford thinks his wife is losing it. Scares galore …
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