Vertical Entertainment’s 2020 thriller WHAT LIES BELOW will be on Demand and Digital on December 4th. The creepy mystery film with supernatural and science elements from Braden R. Duemmler. For Duemmler, this film is his directorial debut for a full-length feature after a collection of successful short films. Starring Ema Horvath (“The Mortuary Collection”) as Liberty, the movie opens as she and her mother Michelle (Mena Suvari, “American Beauty”) return to a remote lakeside cabin. Trey Tucker (“The Outpost”), makes his first appearance as he sashays from the water like a man who’s just finished his first magazine cover. For Liberty, her mother’s announcement that this rippled and tanned man, John, is her boyfriend leaves her with a mixed bag of emotions.
What’s more, John seems to be the perfect companion. If you watch the trailer, you’ll see that he is definitely a bit more than the average hunk of man meat. The trailer gives quite a bit away, so if you like your movies to retain their mystique, I suggest you give it a hard pass. Liberty, at first, shows more than an innocent fascination with her mother’s new beau. He is charming, smart in a geeky, scientist way, and interested in things Liberty likes. For a short while, John seems to have charmed both the women in this small family. And her mother Michelle is more than keen to keep this relationship going, even if it means lying about her age.
Creepy Sexual Tension
The story of What Lies Below steadies itself in its sexual tension. The finer details of what Liberty sees and her mother does not is what ups the ante in a good way. John’s calm and insistent nature, his smooth tenor, and his ability to mesmerize Michelle makes Liberty look and feel like a jealous daughter. The audience sees what Liberty sees, however, and there is no mistaking that John is not normal. This is what saves the narrative from being a just a story about who is telling the truth. We know John is weird and not himself but we just don’t know why.
What Lies Below Movie Trailer Starring Mena Suvari
Performances from Suvari and Horvath are perfectly laid out. A believable duo as mother and daughter, Duemmler’s carefully crafted writing ensures there is enough background to capture the rift that crops up between them. Despite certain predictability about What Lies Below, the essence of John and his supernatural agency maintains the film’s intrigue. A few big picture elements are kept at arm’s length until the final reveal and it definitely does the film a service.
It’s not a perfect movie if you like a full explanation but it is engaging and entertaining. It’s dark, insidious and all of the characters are likable even alongside their personality flaws. Far fetched enough to give you that fantasy element of the sci-fi kind and real enough to make you understand the decisions of its players, I really enjoyed What Lies Below. A sequel would be nice from this first-time feature director, Duemmler, who certainly knows how to eke things out in a stylish and purposeful manner.
I give What Lies Below
4 fertility bracelets out of 5