6.6/10
114,045
694 user 197 critic

What Lies Beneath (2000)

PG-13 | | Drama, Fantasy, Horror | 21 July 2000 (USA)
Trailer
0:31 | Trailer
The wife of a university research scientist believes that her lakeside Vermont home is haunted by a ghost - or that she is losing her mind.

Director:

Robert Zemeckis

Writers:

Clark Gregg (screenplay), Sarah Kernochan (story) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
2,201 ( 118)
7 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michelle Pfeiffer ... Claire Spencer
Katharine Towne ... Caitlin Spencer
Miranda Otto ... Mary Feur
James Remar ... Warren Feur
Harrison Ford ... Norman Spencer
Victoria Bidewell ... Beatrice
Diana Scarwid ... Jody
Dennison Samaroo ... PhD Student #1
Jennifer Tung ... PhD Student #2
Eliott Goretsky Eliott Goretsky ... Teddy
Rachel Singer ... PhD Student #3
Daniel Zelman ... PhD Student #4
Ray Baker ... Dr. Stan Powell
Wendy Crewson ... Elena
Amber Valletta ... Madison Elizabeth Frank
Learn more

More Like This 

Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

After being hypnotized by his sister-in-law, a man begins seeing haunting visions of a girl's ghost and a mystery begins to unfold around him.

Director: David Koepp
Stars: Kevin Bacon, Zachary David Cope, Kathryn Erbe
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A reporter is drawn to a small West Virginia town to investigate a series of strange events, including psychic visions and the appearance of bizarre entities.

Director: Mark Pellington
Stars: Richard Gere, Laura Linney, David Eigenberg
The Gift (2000)
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A woman with extrasensory perception is asked to help find a young woman who has disappeared.

Director: Sam Raimi
Stars: Cate Blanchett, Katie Holmes, Keanu Reeves
Comedy | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

When a woman learns of an immortality treatment, she sees it as a way to outdo her long-time rival.

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Stars: Meryl Streep, Bruce Willis, Goldie Hawn
Witness (1985)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

When a young Amish boy is sole witness to a murder, policeman John Book goes into hiding in Amish country to protect him until the trial.

Director: Peter Weir
Stars: Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis, Lukas Haas
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

As a lawyer investigates the murder of a colleague, he finds himself more connected to the crime than anyone else.

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Harrison Ford, Raul Julia, Greta Scacchi
The Fugitive (1993)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Dr. Richard Kimble, unjustly accused of murdering his wife, must find the real killer while being the target of a nationwide manhunt led by a seasoned U.S. Marshal.

Director: Andrew Davis
Stars: Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, Sela Ward
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

After being shot, a lawyer loses his memory and must relearn speech and mobility, but he has a loving family to support him.

Director: Mike Nichols
Stars: Harrison Ford, Annette Bening, Michael Haley
Stigmata (1999)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

When a young woman becomes afflicted by stigmata, a priest is sent to investigate her case, which may have severe ramifications for his faith and for the Catholic Church itself.

Director: Rupert Wainwright
Stars: Patricia Arquette, Gabriel Byrne, Jonathan Pryce
Air Force One (1997)
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Communist Radicals hijack Air Force One with The U.S. President and his family on board. The Vice President negotiates from Washington D.C., while the President, a Veteran, fights to rescue the hostages on board.

Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Stars: Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Robin Monroe, a New York magazine editor, and the gruff pilot Quinn Harris must put aside their mutual dislike if they are to survive after crash landing on a deserted South Seas island.

Director: Ivan Reitman
Stars: Harrison Ford, Anne Heche, David Schwimmer
White Noise I (2005)
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

An architect's desire to speak with his wife from beyond the grave becomes an obsession with supernatural repercussions.

Director: Geoffrey Sax
Stars: Michael Keaton, Deborah Kara Unger, Ian McNeice

Photos

Edit

Storyline

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 <genekim@concentric.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Some men cheat and get caught. Some men pay a higher price. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for terror/violence, sensuality and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford were director Robert Zemeckis's first and only choices for the lead roles of Claire and Norman Spencer. See more »

Goofs

During the seance scene, when Claire and Jody are using the Ouija board, the hand piece stays over the "T". In the next shot it is over a different letter. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Claire Spencer: Good morning, Beauty. Let's go or we'll never leave on time.
Caitlin Spencer: I'm totally ready.
Claire Spencer: Come on. I'll make you some waffles.
See more »

Crazy Credits

When the movie title first appears on screen, the word 'Lies' appears just before the rest of the title. See more »

Connections

References E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Too Late
Written by J.C. Brandy (as Justine Brandy), Katie Harris, Lissa Beltri, Claudia Rossi & Doug DeAngelis
Performed by Lo-Ball (as LoBall)
Courtesy of Doug DeAngelis
See more »

User Reviews

 
Claire And Present Danger
22 October 2012 | by ferbs54See all my reviews

Robert Zemeckis, by dint of such phenomenally popular films as "Romancing the Stone," "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?," the "Back to the Future" trilogy, "Death Becomes Her," "Forrest Gump" and "Contact," was already a highly successful Hollywood director when, along with producers Steve Starkey and Jack Rapke, he formed the ImageMovers production company in 1998. As the company's first project, Zemeckis chose screenwriter Clark Gregg's "What Lies Beneath," a modern-day ghost story that, the director told his crew, he wished to bring to the screen as Alfred Hitchcock might have done, IF the Master of Suspense had had access to modern FX technology and computer graphics. (Never mind that none of Hitchcock's 54 films dealt with ghosts or the supernatural per se.) Filmed largely in the Lake Champlain region of Vermont, near Addison, during a hiatus from shooting "Cast Away," the resultant picture, released in July 2000, was still another significant feather in Zemeckis' already crowded hat, and, like those other films named, features impressive yet subtly integrated FX to complement a highly intriguing story. As both a horror film and an exercise in suspense, "What Lies Beneath" must be deemed a complete success.

In the picture, we meet an attractive, middle-aged couple, Norman and Claire Spencer, and indeed, as portrayed by Hollywood icons Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer, the Spencers might be one of the handsomest couples in the history of the horror film! Living as they do in a beautiful home overlooking a Vermont lake, the professional couple (Norman is a renowned geneticist; Claire, a retired cellist), although their only daughter has just left for college, would seem to have an enviable marriage. But before very long, weird occurrences begin in the newly "empty nest." Strange noises and whisperings, a broken picture frame, spectral reflections in the surface of the lake and (in perhaps the film's single scariest scene) bathtub water, all serve to convince Claire that the ghost of a young woman is haunting her abode...possibly the ghost of her new next-door neighbor, who Claire believes has been killed by her husband. But, as it turns out, the truth is considerably more complex, and the unraveling of this truth will go very far in unraveling the Spencers' marriage, too....

So, DOES "What Lies Beneath" strike the viewer as a Hitchcockian exercise, abetted by 21st century computer wizardry? I would have to say yes. There are any number of scenes that are undeniably scary or suspenseful, the most agonizing of which is the wonderful scene in which Claire lies paralyzed in a bathtub that is slowly being filled with water. Some of Alan Silvestri's score is reminiscent of Bernard Herrmann's classic music for "Psycho," while Claire's use of binoculars to spy on her neighbors at night cannot help but call to mind Jimmy Stewart in "Rear Window." Pfeiffer and Ford work well together and do have some screen chemistry; they make a credible couple, although Norman, as it turns out, might be one of the least sympathetic characters that Ford has ever essayed. For this viewer, however, the bulk of this picture's success must lie squarely with Pfeiffer, who appears in virtually every single scene and is simply terrific in all of them. Watching her in this film, in which she easily displays far more dramatic heft than her costar, and also reveals what an effective "scream queen" she can be, the viewer will most likely regret how few other horror vehicles Ms. Pfeiffer has appeared in. And really, besides 1994's "Wolf," I can think of no others, unless we stretch the point a bit and include 1987's "The Witches of Eastwick" and this past summer's horror comedy "Dark Shadows." One of the finest combinations of sensational looks and undeniable acting chops to this day (and Michelle is 54 as I write these words), she is quite simply one of the best we've got, and makes Claire Spencer and "What Lies Beneath" a character and a film to savor. The venerable "Leonard Maltin Movie Guide," apparently, does not concur in this assessment, concluding its lukewarm comments with the statement that the story "doesn't make sense." But the film DID make perfect sense to me...as long, that is, as one is willing to believe in spooks. And by the end of Zemeckis' highly effective film, most viewers, I have a feeling, will be uttering that famous line of the Cowardly Lion: "I DO believe in spooks, I DO believe in spooks, I do, I do, I do, I do, I DO believe in spooks...."


9 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 694 user reviews »

Videos

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 July 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

What Lies Beneath See more »

Filming Locations:

Burlington, Vermont, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$100,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$29,702,959, 23 July 2000

Gross USA:

$155,464,351

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$291,420,351
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series



Recently Viewed