What Lies Below: Movie Review

You didn’t think you’d be getting a review this week, did you? Surprise!

The Movie

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.

IMDb page

Written and directed by Braden R. Duemmler, What Lies Below is a 2020 sci-fi horror film, currently available on Netflix. In the film, awkward young teen, Liberty, finds out her mom got a new boyfriend while Liberty while away at camp. This boyfriend’s very first scene is a Baywatch-esque deal as he emerges from the lake in a speedo to gift Liberty with a fertility bracelet (you can see the poor actor shivering during this scene).

The boyfriend seems pretty cool at first but quickly reveals he is not who — what? — he says he is.

The Review

I’ll be frank. What Lies Below is a great bad movie to watch. The acting, especially on the part of the daughter, is pretty awkward at times and some of the characters’ reactions and decisions don’t ring authentically. But it’s a good monster flick with cosmic horror overtures while also being a bizarre coming of age story.

I can’t say the movie is completely cohesive, it seems to pull in a bunch of different directions, and ends with a strange scene that I won’t spoil here.

The movie feels like it wanted to have a lot of depth (like an ocean maybe? bahdumtsh) and drops a lot of strange “clues” (a lot of mentions of red hair, the focus on lampreys) that are never truly explained, leaving me feeling like the director should have slowed down a bit and developed the movie a bit more.

I did appreciate that the monster is only hinted at. I don’t think monster movies necessarily need to always reveal their monsters in full glory because, oftentimes, they don’t have the budget to do it effectively, which ruins it.

So, I suppose I would recommend this movie as long as you go into it not expecting an amazing movie. It will confuse you and gross you out (just wait til the raft scene), but it won’t give you chills or thrills.


x P.L. McMillan

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