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After watching their best friend get murdered, a group of teens
struggle to expose a local mortician (Dennis Quaid) as the vicious
killer and keep from becoming his next victims.
I see this film has a pretty low rating and has some rather scathing reviews. Frankly, I thought it was alright -- much better than a lot of the films I see. Dennis Quaid is always a joy, and the overall concept was entertaining.
If I had to make any complaint, it is that the mother character is just really, really poorly acted. I do not know her character's name, or I would specifically call out that actress. She is outdone by kids half her age, and that is just insulting.
Is this the overlooked horror film of 2011? Heck no. Is it comparable to "The Shining"? Not even in the same league. But I also do not think it is as bad as made out to be by some of those who have said it is like watching paint dry.
Four high school kids come into some bother when they cross paths with
the local Mortician/whack-job. When one of them gets murdered it's up
to the others to prove the morticians guilt.
The movie follows a lot of the classic thriller trappings and pitfalls. No one believes the kids story despite the obvious weirdness of the mortician character played brilliantly by Dennis Quaid with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Useless cops neglecting to follow up any evidence and of course the kids parents not listening to anything they say. Despite all this it still manages to entertain. There are some very funny cheesy lines in there some quite tense moments too.
There are some pointless parts like the main teens back story which never really amounts to anything and the fact we never get to see the teachers reaction to one of the bits of story that is eventually revealed (one that if you're paying attention you'll know before any of the characters in the movie do). These small problems aren't really enough to ruin the movie. There are some great moments in there too. Like when you find out what the kids had seen going on through the window as well as Some of the morticians one-liners.
The main cast do a pretty good job, everyone is very capable. Obviously Dennis Quaid stands out. Finally embracing a role that revels in madness. I always thought that a lot of his characters had a kind of wild edge to them and it was great for me in this movie to see him let that edge take over.
The movie looks great and professionally filmed. Sound design is spot on. Technically you can't fault it.
Strangely there seems to be a lot of hate for Beneath the darkness but If you're willingly to let it, this movie can be an enjoyable ride.
I looked at the IMDb rating, thought I would give this movie a go.
What a waste of time! It is like watching paint dry or waiting for grass to grow. A complete waste of 90 or so minutes.
How anyone would dare to compare this pile of junk to Jack Nicholson in the Shining beggars belief.
This movie is not fit to lick the boots of that movie.
The characters are 2 dimensional, who thought this garbage up? Do yourselves a favour - go and watch The Shining, this isn't worth a dime, it was actually painful to try and sit through the movie. It certainly isn't horror, and it is barely a movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
At the end of the movie it is easy to see this as an attempt to be
Psycho meets Mr. Brooks. Dennis Quaid plays against type as Eli a
mortician with a secret, and a dark compulsion. He can kill with no
remorse and he has the body of his deceased wife in his house.
Unfortunely Quaid is one of the weaknesses of the film. He lacks the
chilling menace that Costner had in Mr. Brooks and just comes across as
The story is lacking in exposition and caused me some annoyance as the movie progressed. Why wait to the end and shoehorn in a ton of explanation in an unnatural fashion, which takes away from the twist at the end. The twist should be the penny that drops to link all the treads together ala The Sixth Sense (the best example of this).
The best part of the film would have to be the young cast. The four friends are great together, very believable as friends. The lead, Travis, is great and reminds me of a young Christopher Gorham (Harpers Island).
The story itself is good and entertaining, unfortunately it is lacking in the execution.
That's how this excellent little mystery-horror film from 2011 struck
me, and I mean that in a good way.
PLOT: Dennis Quaid plays a creepy mortician in a central Texas town. A group of teens decide to trespass his abode for thrills and everything goes awry.
Quaid and cutie Aimee Teegarden head the cast, but it's Tony Oller who shines here as the troubled protagonist. He's very reminiscent of Robby Benson.
Like I said, the story is akin to a Scooby-Doo yarn, but realistic and without the dog. Although Quaid is over-the-top and somewhat campy as the villain the rest of the cast play it straight. I was surprised by the dramatic score and a few really touching scenes.
Some complain that the subplot of a dead sister and a ghost sighting goes nowhere, but it's there for a reason, just think about it.
Although there's some realistic cussing there's zero raunch.
BOTTOM LINE: I was pleasantly surprised by this great little film. It's classy, sometimes moving, mysterious and thrilling at the same time. What more could you ask for in a movie of this ilk?
Shot in Bastrop & Smithville, Texas, the film runs 96 minutes.
GRADE: A- or B+
I was hugely looking forward to "Beneath the Darkness" when it played at the annual Brussels Festival of Fantastic Films during a midnight screening, because I was told and I eagerly believed that it was an uncompromising and outrageous horror/thriller that granted Dennis Quaid the opportunity to depict a psychotic and derailed small Texas-town serial killer. Dennis Quaid as a crazed mortician! What avid genre fanatic wouldn't look forward to this? Together with a theater full of enthusiast people, I expected a tremendously high body count, lots of pitch-black humor, perverted undertones and a totally whack Dennis Quaid one-man-show. Things didn't exactly turn out as favorable I wouldn't go as far to call "Beneath the Darkness" a disastrous film, but it's definitely a bit too ambitious and wannabe intelligent for its own good. Quaid's character Ely Vaughn, the local undertaker who's still highly admired within the community because he used to be a star quarterback in high school, is indeed an utterly disturbed individual but he's not a maniac on a rampage. Quite the contrary, in fact, Ely is a very distinguished person and his dark side only comes to the surface when a couple of school kids decide to sniffle around in his private business. The first five minutes of the film, as well as the final fifteen, are very entertaining and exciting, not coincidentally because these are the only times that Quaid gets to showcase his evil grimaces and madman capacities. Everything in between is just an overlong series of clichéd and derivative situations. Of course nobody believes the teenagers when they're accusing one of the most prominent town members of being a psychopath and obviously the cheerleader beauty will gradually fall for the outsider nerd instead of her cowardly jock boyfriend. And then I'm not even talking about the pointless sub plot of the nerdy kid who still feels responsible for his little sister's death ten years ago and the difficult relationship with his mother. That was completely irrelevant and downright redundant. In spite of being the big star of the picture, Dennis Quaid actually has surprisingly little screen time and frankly nearly not enough chances to illustrate the craziness of his character's persona. This is one giant missed opportunity, to say the least.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Movie is quite good. Do not see why most people react so badly. Most
characters are played reasonably good. There is normal amount of
thriller in here. Do not compare this to the other movies. It is great
all by itself. And DQ makes it even better. It is watchable and not
boring. There are much worse movies out there.
Script has some unevenness but nevertheless this is not notable while watching the movie. Those are kids you know. What do you expect them to do? And they finish it all quite successfully at the end. And besides, many movies now have many stereotypes in them, because there are so many movies made to he day, that it is hard not to repeat something from the other... IMHO.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Beneath The Darkness (maybe it should be called Don't Go In The Backyard, or perhaps Love Sucks) isn't the worst psychological thriller out there. Although the character of Dennis Quaid's Ely doesn't meet the excellence of Kevin Costner's Mr. Brook's, Ely is still a pretty creepy weirdo, a mortician who is trying to hide the corpse of his embalmed wife, who he enjoys dancing with every night in front of the second floor window, as well as the corpse of his wife's lover. who he buried alive in his own backyard, although he seems to have a hard time hiding these secrets from the local snooping kids. There is nothing special here but there is also nothing outright terrible either. This is simply a half decent thriller that won't disappoint for an evening with the lights out in front of the fireplace with a bowl of buttered popcorn at hand. Don't expect genius and allow yourself to get into it and it'll be a little bit fun.
As also mentioned from other reviewers there are similarities between
Mr. Brooks and this film. If Mr. Brooks is a Crime/Drama/Mystery film,
this film cannot be a horror film, because Mr. Brooks has definitely
harder scenes as this one. I don't know if the makers of this movie
claim that they filmed a horror movie. If yes then it is a really poor
horror film and you will be disappointed as a horror movie fan. But if
you watch it as a Crime/Thriller it is watchable and not a waste of
time. It depends on what your expectation is. In marketing the product
must be declared correctly: if you declare horror in a product, horror
must be in the product.
In the music business there is a genre named easy-listening, translated into the movie business I would say this film is a "easy-watching" film: not bad and not really good.
It is great to finally see Dennis Quaid play a character with personality again! Lately, it seems like he plays the same scarred, emotionless character, over and over again. It's hard to remember that it's his charisma that made him a star and you can really see it in Beneath The Darkness. Dennis Quaid plays Vaughn Ely, a mortician who is crazy. To the town, Ely is this great guy who gives back to the community, but only one person can see him for what he really is. Travis (Tony Oller) is a local teenager who works odd jobs for Ely and has always had suspicions about the man, but never did anything about it. One night, the subject comes up while with his friends and they decide to bust into Ely's home to find out what he's really hiding. The story starts out very slowly and I wasn't expecting it to get any better, but it really does. I already mentioned how good Quaid is, but the star of this film is Tony Oller. I've heard him sing, but I've never seen him act, and to say I was impressed is an understatement. Between Quaid's outlandish behavior and Oller's teenage angst, I didn't need much of a story to follow in order to be entertained. Beneath The Darkness is strange and not everyone is going to like it, but it's one of these films that you keep watching, because you want to know what's going to happen. What happens is that it actually turns into a pretty entertaining and respectable film, that features a star in the making.
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