|What Lies Beneath|
"Even the worst secrets surface one day or another..."
Having been maried for long years, a couple has recently moved into a spacious home, on the shores of a lake, sees its house become the prey of unexplained phenomena: doors open by themselves, the bath fills itself with water and a framed picture keeps falling on the ground.
Norman doesn’t realize much and refuses to believe Claire’s supernatural observations. According to her, their neighbour has murdered his wife and the deceased’s spectre is trying to inform her for justice to be served.
As the manifestations repeat themselves, the couple grows apart and they start doubting about Claire’s mental stability. Of course, there is one exception: her psychologist encourages her to invite the spirit, to contact it. After this initiative, things worsen. Claire more clearly understands the clues left by the spirit and recalls events in her own past that had been forgotten...
What Lies Beneath contains many elements that play in its favour and a few that play against it. The suspense is marvellously prepared and we are frequently startled. Each time, it delivers the surprise it promised. Even though these scenes are perfectly orchestrated and always succeed, we are startled too often by people or events that are useless to the development or that are only remotely related. Because these scenes are so effective, they shake us to the point of losing interest in what is truly significant. This is also the case for scenarios that relentlessly diverge towards hazardous dead-ends that have nothing to do with the plot.
Apart from its small flaws, the film is excellent and is notably accessible to a large public. The two main actors, Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford, are more than likely responsible. We get the impression that we know them after all these years: they are very familiar to us. While they don’t make the most credible couple, the choice of casting them was appropriate, seen the meandering ending. Even though they appear like they are still in love years after their marriage, when things start going wrong, when souvenirs come back to haunt them, when the ghost decides to possess, the truth slowly comes to the surface and both of the characters have the occasion to reveal their dark side, a role we had never seen them take in the past.
The film starts with the usual habits, then slides into a psychological thriller to then offer its dose of haunting and intrigue. At the end, you will understand everything and you will have been surprised over and over again. Certain developments may seem far-fetched, others well thought out. Still, it is easier to swallow the turns you dislike thanks to the tremendous quality of the image. The camera angles are strategic and essential to startle the viewer. While the film is slow, it is never tiresome.
- Claire, paralysed in her quickly filling bath, incapable of escaping.
- Norman, slipping and hitting his face on the sink.
Released in: 2000
Horror - Thriller - Haunting - Love
Films in similar category:
Stir of Echoes
House on Haunted Hill (Remake)
Children of the Corn : Revelation
Blair Witch Project, The
Vengeance of the Dead
( 08/07/2002 )
Read this article in French