I was definitely looking forward to this one, because the crew out at IFC have put out a great many choice horror flicks, and this one looked to be something different even for them. They sent out a copy of Beneath the Dark, ahead of its release March 29th, and for those of you looking for something decidedly original, prepare to have your mind blown.
Beneath the Dark takes a man driving with his girlfriend on a dark road when he starts to get sleepy. He finds a roadside motel, luckily enough, and pulls off to spend the night. And this in turn kicks off a series of events by which our sleepy driver confronts his past in all its nightmare glory, as the driver and his cohort find themselves forced to interact with the night clerk at the hotel and his wife.
Those of you expecting a Vacancy or Identity will likely be disappointed, and this is a shame as I was quite fond of both Vacancy and Identity, and those too took place in cheesy little roadside motels. But still, there are some really nice twisty bits here, and a couple of fairly interesting plotlines going on side by side that will throw in a few good chills of their own.
Beneath the Dark isn’t so much a horror movie as it is a fairly mild psychological thriller, and it will do a good job of being chilling, if not so much thrilling. It’s very deliberate, a little slow to build but it will eventually turn into something very substantial, so if you’re willing to put in the time to let it grow properly, you’ll get a very nice payoff here. Patience counts in this one, and it’s pretty impressive all the same. IFC’s little chill factory is not perfect–for a thriller it’s decidedly short on thrills–but it does have some, and the abundance of chills will certainly help.
And of course, you’ll get some pretty nice surprises out of this. They’ll really do a nice job by the end of it all, and it’s very much worth your time to watch.
The Screenhead Ten Scale gives IFC‘s Beneath the Dark a nine out of ten–about the only thing separating this from being a really bang-up thriller is the decided lack of thrills and scares. It’ll handle chills very well, and there will be a few thrills here, just not really enough to make this a proper thriller. It’s very close, though, and decidedly worth your time to check this one out.