In the Tradition of Suspicion
What Lies Beneath

Press conference with "What Lies Beneath" Principals

Review by Ross Anthony

A beautiful blond (Michelle Pfeiffer) aims her hair dryer at the steam-filled bathroom mirror. But there's something wrong ... no electricity. Still dripping from the shower she presses that little red reset button on the outlet with her moist finger. ZAP! Just a spark! But that's all it takes to set you on edge and keep you paranoid as you try to see what's on the other side of every camera pan, every plot or doorknob twist.

If you liked Hitchcock's "Rear Window" and Spielberg's "Poltergeist" and uhm, I don't know, "Terminator 1" ... well I think it's safe to say, you'll like this mix of the three. What Lies BeneathMe? Though the genre of suspense-driven films isn't my fancy, I must admit I was quite compelled for the first two acts. Director Robert Zemeckis does an absolutely scrupulous job of keenly keeping his audience balancing precariously on the edge of their seats - simulating the sensation we feel at a roller coaster's peak. Freeze that crested car and peer hundreds of feet to the ground down two rickety wooden rails atop the track's largest drop ... what lies beneath? Indeed!

It's the third and final act that lets go of all that careful teasing and toying and begins (well, it's hard to say without spoiling for you) ... suffice ... the climax that's not as smart as the first two acts.

Pfeiffer and Ford forge fantastically. Pfeiffer fans fear only the phantasm. Her acting is grand. But resounding kudos must be song strongly to the audio engineers, creators and mixers whose huge hits will enter through your ears shattering your deliberately crystallized belly then setting the bits to drift like glistening frost into your legs and arms.

Pfeiffer and Ford should be relaxing now that only-daughter Katherine Towne has taken off for college. That might have been the case if it weren't for a haunting past slowly surfacing. AHHHHHH!

"What Lies Beneath" is scary. If you're looking for intensely thick drama or rich comedy, you should know that though both tastes are sampled, this film is dead set on one thing only - to scare you.

[Press conference with "What Lies Beneath" Principals]

  • What Lies Beneath. Copyright © 2000. Rated PG-13.
  • Starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Harrison Ford, Diana Scarwid, Miranda Otto, James Remar, Amber Valletta.
  • Directed by Robert Zemeckis.
  • Written by Clark Gregg. Story by Sarah Kernochan and Clark Gregg.
  • Produced by Steve Starkey, Robert Zemeckis, and Jack Rapke at Imagemovers/Dreamworks/20th Century Fox.


Copyright © 2000. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 07:49:54 PDT