31 Days Of Hallowe'en: What Lies Beneath (2000)
Welcome to JOE's 31 Days Of Hallowe'en. For each and every day of October, we'll be bringing you a horror movie to tuck into for the lead up to the big night. It could be new, old, an undiscovered gem, or a classic you'll have seen a thousand times. No matter what it is, we guarantee you that it is brilliant, and it is SCARY.
For Day 21, we're looking back over 2000's old school haunted house mystery, What Lies Beneath.
Director Robert Zemeckis (Back To The Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Forrest Gump) had a few months off, having filmed the first half of Cast Away, which featured an overweight Tom Hanks, and he had to wait for his leading star to drop the belly so he could look like a convincing island survivor for the second half.
He happened across a script by Clark Gregg (who you might better know as Agent Coulson in the Marvel movies and TV shows), a story about a husband and wife and their potentially haunted home, and decided to use his time making a cutting edge but still remarkably old school horror movie.
With their daughter heading off to college, a long-married couple (Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford) suddenly find themselves with a bit of an empty nest. While he is off pushing the envelope at a pharmaceutical lab, she begins to go a little bit stir crazy. When a new neighbour movies in, Pfeiffer becomes convinced that there is something fishy about them, especially when the woman next door suddenly goes missing.
Soon afterward, Pfeiffer starts seeing things in her own home, and believes that the lady next door has been killed by her husband and that she is now being haunted, but there is A LOT more to it than she realises...
Here is the trailer that we REALLY RECOMMEND YOU DO NOT WATCH because it is ridiculously spoiler heavy...
Clip via TheTrailerGal
Zemeckis doesn't do anything by halves, so while the movie goes in lightly with doors closing by themselves, picture frames being pushed off bedside tables by an unseen hand, and all kinds of things that just generally go bump in the night, it doesn't stay that way for long.
He managed to get a $100 million budget for his horror movie that effectively takes place inside just one house, but before long he is using special effects and eye-popping camera-work that will have your jaw on the floor even as you're screaming out in fear.
Pfeiffer plays a fantastic scream-queen, attempting to solve a mystery even as everyone (and everything) around her stops making sense, and without giving the game away, Ford turns in one of his career highlight performances by playing the kind of guy we just never see Ford play. Like, ever.
And then there's that scene in the bathtub. If you've seen it already, then you know the one we mean, and you probably did the same thing we did, and chewed your fingernails down to the nubs watching it in ever-building anxiety.
What Lies Beneath did for bathtubs what Psycho did for showers, and that is the best compliment we could possibly give to a scary movie.
Check out our previous recommendations below: