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What Lies Beneath (2000)

Horror and Mystery & Suspense movie directed by Robert Zemeckis

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Finally! A Legitimate Scary Flick!

  • Nov 10, 2004
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 follow, and a twist and turn ending comes to fruition.

The scares in this movie aren't of the "hack-and-slash" gore variety. They aren't even the "boo!" scares found in horror flicks as of late such as "The Grudge." They are legitimate, bite-your-nails scary. There are some of the jump-at-ya type scares, but they are pulled off in a way that tells you that this movie stands out from the pack. It works on your mind while you're trying to solve who the ghost is, then hits you with a wallop of surprises. In other words, you're always trying to be on your guard, but you are never given a chance to recover.

I base how scary a film is on how it affects me after I've watched it. This flick made me uneasy when I went to the bathtub. It made me want to turn on every light. When a movie does that to me, it deserves four stars. I recommend this one to anybody who wants a real scare, not any of the teeny-bopper fluff tossed out nowadays such as "Scream," "The Grudge," and the wretched "Blair Witch Project."

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About the reviewer
Kendall Fontenot ()
Ranked #17
Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
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About this movie


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...

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Director: Robert Zemeckis
Screen Writer: Clark Gregg, Sarah Kernochan
DVD Release Date: January 30, 2001
Runtime: 130 minutes
Studio: Dreamworks Video
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