Reliably exciting UK distributor Arrow has set a DVD/VOD release date for Beneath, one of several as yet unreleased films screened at FrightFest 2013 back in August. Patrick Doody and Chris Valenziano’s trapped-miners tale of terror will be released in the UK on February 23.
Read Scott Weinberg’s exclusive review after the jump.
Most horror movies tell you what you’re in store for right off the bat: it’s a zombie movie, or it’s a haunted house story, or it’s collection of creepy short films, or… you get the point. Good horror films will often offer a literal vs. metaphorical angle to their story. (For example: is that woman going insane… or is she completely sane and her house is actually haunted?) Then there are the thrillers that really want to hold their cards close to the vest for as long as possible, and that’s what makes Ben Ketai’s subterranean chiller Beneath so periodically amusing: the viewer simply doesn’t know if it’s dealing with threats of an otherworldly or literal nature.
Much of what the director and co-writers Patrick Doody and Chris Valenziano have to offer is a pretty standard tale – a bunch of miners find themselves trapped after a sudden and tragic cave-in – but their obvious aim is to keep the audience guessing, so even when Beneath is familiar or overly talkative, there’s still a creepy air of “what if?” surrounding the claustrophobic suspense.
Clearly it’s horrific enough to just be trapped miles beneath the Earth’s surface, but Beneath gets some intriguing mileage out of its guessing game. Not many of the actors a indie regulars, although leading lady Kelly Noonan is a standout, plus indie fans will enjoy the support work from guys like Jeff Fahey and Brent Briscoe. As a low-budget disaster thriller, the film works well enough – but it’s the commitment the supernatural “question” that makes Beneath worth checking out.
And no, I’m not going to say whether it’s a haunted cave-in or just a “typical” cave-in. That question is sort of what the flick is all about, and while Beneath might not register as one of the most memorable indie thrillers of the year, I certainly enjoyed seeing how it all played out.
Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg)