Since last year we’ve been updating you on the status of friend to the Retroist site, Patrick J. Doody and his writing partner Chris Valenziano’s soon to be released theatrical film entitled “Beneath”. The horror film is in fact available this very minute thanks to VOD like iTunes and Xbox, which is where I rented it this morning…like three in the morning…the perfect time to subject myself to the frights that Beneath contains.
Beneath does a great job of introducing us to the cast of characters at the very beginning of the film, it turns out that the next day will be the last day on the job for George Marsh (Jeff Fahey). He has been a miner for over 30 years and to help celebrate that retirement his daughter, Samantha (Kelly Noonan), has returned home from New York City. At that party for her Father we get to meet the rest of the rough and tumble miners but the three characters that stand out are fellow “old man” on the job, Mundy (Brent Briscoe), surly Masek (Eric Etebari), and Randy (Joey Kern). It turns out that Samantha just so happens to make a living as an environmental lawyer…did I mention that her Father works in a coal mine? She is given a pretty hard time at the party for attacking the very thing basically that allowed her Father and Mother to put her through law school so to show she understands how hard their jobs are she agrees to go down into the mine with them on her Father’s last day.
Director Ben Ketai (30 Days of Night: Dust to Dust) does a fantastic job of playing up the naturally confining aspects of the mine, though subtly at first…a kind of getting to know your way around the shafts where the miners are working and the majority of the film will take place. Samantha is being watched over so to speak by Randy and it doesn’t take long for things to go unexpectedly and horribly wrong. When a coal mining machine opens a long forgotten shaft it causes a collapse, lives are lost but a handful of the miners make their way to the safety of a rescue shelter. George is thankfully able to alert those on the surface of their predicament by way of a landline but the survivors will have to wait at least 72 hours before rescuers can reach them. Which is okay because the shelter has food, water, and enough oxygen for 6 days.
Too bad someone or some things don’t plan on letter them just sit around and wait it out. Samantha begins to see horrid visions, like when she is talking to Mundy to only be aghast when before her eyes his skin becomes a sickly grey and he looks as if he’s been dead for months. You could possibly chalk it up to bad air in the mine shaft, not to mention the stress everyone is under but there are odd happenings in the mine…screams…whispers…and then they find out that the shaft that was opened by that mining machine has something to do with the Nineteen, miners that had been trapped and left for dead in the early 1900’s.
Beneath is a very tense film, it slowly ratchets up those tensions and doles out the frights and delightfully never eases up. The scares are smart and help to emphasize that none of the survivors are safe when it hits the fan while also allowing the viewer to form their own opinions on just what really is happening to them.
I’m not a claustrophobic person…to a point. But when we are talking about being stuck 600 feet below ground and having to navigate through crumbling mine passages that a person can barely fit through with failing lights, whether that be from mining caps or industrial glow sticks, well, let’s just say that I was feeling just as trapped as the characters were in the film.
Beneath will have a limited theatrical release starting on July 25th and like I mentioned above is readily available On Demand services and is well worth your time if you count yourself among the fans of horror and thrillers.