***/**** Image A+ Sound A- Extras B
starring Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer, Diana Scarwid, Miranda Otto
screenplay by Clark Gregg
directed by Robert Zemeckis
by Travis Mackenzie Hoover What Lies Beneath isn't very nasty, but it's nice. The film takes Polanski-style horror, the kind where the environment itself seems to be falling apart and the individual has to navigate through miles of decay, and gives it a white-enamel Hollywood gloss that makes it fearfully cold and sinisterly antiseptic. It's a given from the get-go that this pure whiteness will, by film's end, be defiled by the blood of the innocent and the violence of the guilty. It's only a matter of time before it gets there, but the travel involved is bracing and loaded with suspense. While the end of What Lies Beneath wallows in some rather familiar horror-movie scare tactics, the rest of it is a nicely understated affair that cleverly plays on your nerves without relying too much on brutality or not enough on jolt.
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