Norman Spencer, a university research scientist, is growing more and more concerned about his wife, Claire, a retired concert cellist who a year ago was involved in a serious auto accident, and who has just sent off her daughter Caitlin (Norman's stepdaughter) to college. Now, Claire reports hearing voices and witnessing eerie occurrences in and around their lakeside Vermont home, including seeing the face of a young woman reflected in water. An increasingly frightened Claire thinks the phenomena have something to do with the couple living next door, especially since the wife has disappeared without apparent explanation. At her husband's urging, Claire starts to see a therapist; she tells him she thinks the house is being haunted by a ghost. His advice? Try to make contact. Enlisting the help of her best friend, Jody, and a ouija board, Claire seeks to find out the truth of What Lies Beneath. Written by
Eugene Kim <email@example.com>
Robert Zemeckis consciously shot What Lies Beneath (2000) in the style of Hitchcock, if he had access to digital technology. Also, the heroine of the film is a blonde, which was a common trademark of Alfred Hitchcock's. See more »
When Jody visits Claire and brings her the mushroom tea they are sitting on the porch facing the parked cars in the driveway. When Jody gets up and sits on her new car to show it to Claire, Claire acts surprised as if she's seen it for the first time. See more »
Scary, spooky, in a way that reminds me of days gone by.
Oh man!! What a fun movie! Without giving too much away, it's a ghost movie. The plot wasn't anything to write home about, it's been done about 100 times before, but it was just done better than it has been in recent memory. Seems that movies try to over-do everything lately with special effects, gore, music and violence. Not here... I kept thinking that they had taken a step back and returned to what makes movies spooky. It's not a computer generated demon, or a high intensity soundtrack; it's a creaky door, it's a reflection in the glass, it's that feeling when you know you just pushed that chair in a minute ago and now it's away from the table again. That's what makes people uneasy, that's what makes them check their closets and sleep with the hall light on when they go home.
The most notable difference in the movie was the silence. I'd guess that about 50% of the movie was completely silent except for breathing, footsteps, creaking doors... wonderful. Seems that lately the powers-that-be just have to fit every second of the soundtrack into the movie (seems they should since now-a-days there's commercials for the soundtrack separate from the movie in many cases) in order to boost the spooky level... it rarely works. The silence in the movie just added to that tension in your shoulders and made you slowly edge up on your seat.
If I had to pick anything to complain about, it'd be the weak foreshadowing of two events, I don't want to give anything away, but you'll know when you see it. It's like they gave up on trying to write them into the plot. They may as well have put a subtitle on the screen (or a "Pop Up Video" bubble) that told you that what they were saying was important. For my wife and I, it gave a bit away about how the movie was likely to end.
Michelle Pfeiffer was really good, I'd guess she was in almost every single shot in the film, so anything but a great performance would have shown. I'm not normally one to judge actors performances, but there's some credit to be given to someone who can act that scared using only her eyes. I wouldn't be surprised if she gets a nod at the academy for this one.
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