Director: Braden R Duelmmler
Writer: Braden R Duemmler (Screenplay)
Starring: Ema Horvath, Troy Iwata, Danny Corbo, Mena Suvari, Trey Tucker
Plot: A 16 year-old girl returns home from camp and learns that her mother has a new boyfriend, one she intends to marry; a man whose charm, intelligence and beauty make him look like he’s not human at all.
Tagline – Fear comes to the surface
Runtime: 1 Hour 27 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: What Lies Below starts when Liberty (Horbath) returns from summer camp to her mother’s Michelle (Suvari) house, only to learn she has a new boyfriend John Smith (Tucker), a hunk of a man. Liberty does start noticing John around the home, flirting in her own way too.
When Liberty starts seeing a stranger side to John, she starts getting worried, believing something else is going on. She must try to convince her mother about John before it is too late, before the most sinister nature behind John’s motives are revealed.
Thoughts on What Lies Below
Characters & Performances – Liberty is the 16-year-old returning from camp, looking to spend time with her mother at their home in the woods. She gets to meet her mother’s new boyfriend, drooling over him as she does, but soon starting to notice something strange about him, trying his best to expose the truth before it is too late. Liberty is a character that has been through a lot, seen her mother date before, which has helped cause this reaction for her, making her look more paranoid than uncomfortable around him. Ema Horvath is great in the leading role, she must bring the teenager to life, showing both the uncertainty of growing up, with the fear of change, with the paranoid side about the new man in her life. Michelle is the mother of Liberty, starting out like the normal embarrassing mother who has raised her daughter alone, before coming down with an illness, which will see her needing to let her new boyfriend spend time with Liberty. Mena Suvari is the biggest name involved in this film, which does see her take more of a backseat, once everything takes off. John Smith is the new boyfriend, both women can be caught drooling over him, he is working on the local water wildlife, with a project that he does show Liberty, but he is always acting shady, which will see Liberty being wary of him. Trey Tucker does bring us a sinister creepy hunk to life with ease, always having his scenes surrounded in tension.
Story – The story follows a teenage girl that learns her mother has met a new man while she was at camp, only not everything seems to be right with the new man, he seems a little too perfect. This story could be best described like Stepfather meets Species, it is clear that not everything is right, it is clear the mother believes the person is perfect and previous problems have made it easier for her not to believe her daughter. It is paced out as you would imagine, not going too slow, keeping everything connected in make it feels like Liberty is slowly learning and suspecting something is off, without having an easy out for help. This could have seen more characters involved, to build up to what John is up to, but then again, the mystery about him adds a different angle to the story.
Themes – What Lies Below is a horror that will keep us guessing to what John is up to, we learn just keeps us knowing something evil is coming, the location helps with the home in the middle of the woods, one where nobody can see what is going on around. When it comes to the effects, we get to see the slow reveal to what John really is.
Signature Entertainment presents What Lies Below on Digital Platforms 22nd February