Beneath (2007)

Genre(s): Horror / Thriller
Paramount || R - 80 minutes - $26.99 || August 7, 2007
Reviewer: Elyusha Vafaeisefat || Posted On: 2007-08-20

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: Dagen Merrill
Writer(s): Dagen Merrill, Kevin Burke
Cast: Nora Zehetner, Carly Pope, Matthew Settle, Don S. Davis

Theatrical Release Date: NA

Supplemental Material:


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolbu Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: NA

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.::THE FILM::.

"Beneath" is the latest addition to the never ending (at least that's what it seems like) wave of horror/psychological films aimed at the MTV audience. And what better company to finance a film marketed towards the MTV audience than well, MTV.

"Beneath" tells the story of Christy (Nora Zehetner), who returns to her hometown after an accident that disfigured her sister when she was younger. Though the accident was many years ago, Christy is still haunted by the events because it was her mistake that caused the accident to happen. The basic story is nothing new to the genre but the conventions and lack of a strong script are some of the reasons why Beneath is a throw away film.

The cast is filled with unknown character actors as well as several actors who look as if they are fresh out of acting school. Some may recognize Nora Zehetner from the film Brick, which received a great deal of attention upon its release and actually developed quite a following on DVD as well. Unfortunately, Zehetner doesn't really have much to work with so her character is fairly one dimensional and really shows no emotion whatsoever over the course of the film. Her character wanders from house to house and visits different characters that all seem as dull as the houses they are in.

"Beneath" marks Dagen Merrill's first feature film and it shows. The film attempts to use fancy cuts and flashbacks in order to tell the story and in a way, confuse the audience as much as possible only to reveal the "shocking" twist. I must admit that there are a few scenes scattered through the film that are actually quite good and some of the tension and mood that Merrill brings to several of those scenes show that Merrill perhaps does have talent. It is rare that any directors first film is a masterpiece and obviously that is not the case with Beneath. The film only runs 80 minutes long but it feels like a long 80 minutes thanks to the bad pacing and the use of unnecessary repetitive scenes that only slow the film down.

Still, I definitely believe that given a stronger script and a larger budget, this film could have actually been a fairly solid psychological thriller in the same vain as "Stir of Echoes" or "Frailty". Instead, we get a film that one may find on some late night Cable TV channel in between a straight to TV Steven Seagal movie and some infomercials.




The video transfer on "Beneath" is solid and just good enough for a film in this type of genre. The film is presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio and shows no sign of grain or anything else that would noticeably affect the films look.

The audio track is also good and that is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 track. Merrill uses some conventional "jump" tactics in order to scare the audience but for the most part, the use of sound is fairly good and not distracting as it sometimes can be with films of this genre.


The DVD for "Beneath" comes with no extra features covering the film but does come with some trailers for the Nicholas Cage sci-fi film "Next" as well as the Molly Shannon comedy, "Year of the Dog". Perhaps a commentary from the director or the cast and crew may have been fun to listen to given the fact that it was the first film for many involved. I am sure there were problems that came about and it would be interesting to hear what a first time director had to go through. Other than that, I really don't know if any extra features that I would have cared to see on the DVD. The film is below average and the DVD package matches the films bland and ordinary tone.