Beneath (2014)

Beaneath_finalMines, I like them. I don’t know why I do, but it seems I do because I have yet to see one that I dislike. My Bloody Valentine, The Hills Have Eyes Part 2, Wicked Little Things, and now Beneath. All films that happen to take place in a mine. In fact, I can’t think of a single film that takes place in a mine that I dislike. A lot of this stems from the fact I like horror films with a ton of ambiance with a claustrophobic feeling of being trapped to back it up, which is something Beneath has in spades. What makes this film even better is the tight script and well-balanced cast. Something that made this film stand out to me, and I really like how this film played with my expectations. Beneath walks the thin line between sanity and insanity with a surprising amount of grace, with only one stumble along the way.

Beneath opens at the retirement party of George Marsh (Jeff Fahey), a coal miner. The party is hosted by his daughter Samantha (Kelly Noonan), and is attended by his long time friends and co-workers Mundy (Brent Briscoe), Masek (Eric Etebari), Torres (Kurt Caceres) and Randy (Joey Kern). As the party winds down Samantha enters into a challenge to see if she can handle a single day in the mines, something that leaves a few of the men apprehensive at it’s considered bad luck to have a woman in the mines. Samantha takes the challenge and goes with her father the next day to his last day at work. Samantha is put under the care of Randy, a former paramour of hers. But things quickly go sideways when the crew breaks into a natural crevice in the mines wall causing a cave in. Now the miners are trapped in the mines and with rescue crews seventy-two hours away, the surviving miners take refuge in an emergency bunker that has enough oxygen and food to keep them alive until help arrives. But, when the men hear calls for help and venture into the mines fearing it to be one of their missing men. They start falling victim to insanity and violence, violence that escalates until the miners are forced to find a way out of the mines or die trying….

I needed to stay vague due to not wanting to spoil the unanswered question that is this movie. Are they being hunted and stalked by some supernatural force set free from the mountain? Or, are they simple falling victim to the combined pressures of stress and low oxygen, driving them to madness? Beneath leaves largely up to debate, with the final scare cheating that just a bit, a move that knocked the wind out of an otherwise memorable film.

The acting in this film is great, at least I thought so. Jeff Fahey and Brent Briscoe are another two actors that I love to see. Jeff Fahey is most memorable to me from Machete and Brent Briscoe from his work on the Witchblade TV series. But Kelly Noonan stole the show, she was sympathetic, believable, and most importantly likable.  I could have sworn I had seen her in something before, but after perusing her IMDB and recognizing nothing, I realized I was wrong. Her being allowed into the mine was the only time to plot seemed to stretch a bit, and not because she’s a woman. Because she’s untrained and a huge insurance liability, like anyone off the street would be.

Final thoughts, the mines while bland as all mines are, are also shot in such a way they become haunting and malevolent. As if the mountain is angry with them. Which is something I really liked. Which really sums up all my feelings about Beneath, I really liked it. Did I love it? Most certainly not, but I did really like it. So if you’re in the mood for a horror film with a bit of substance to go with the chills, I suggest you give this one a watch. 8/10

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