Something Beneath
R1 - America - Genius Products
Review written by and copyright: Jeremiah Chin (18th September 2008).
The Film

The made-for-TV horror lacks some crucial features to make it self bearable. I can deal with, and on occasion love, terrible writing or really bad acting, but when something is made-for-TV it has to be chopped up and cut in a way that there’s not even a hope for some really bad gore, or some hilarious deaths. “Something Beneath” (2007) is not only fairly tame from start to finish, but has really incredibly bad dialogue, acting and special effects to go along with it. Sometime’s there’s some borderline hilariously bad moments, but for the most part it’s fairly unredeemable.

The story centers on a strange purple goop which has been causing some horrible deaths around a hotel hosting an ecological conference in the middle of the woods. Thankfully Father Douglas Hercules Middleton (Kevin Sorbo) is on the case and along with the conference co-ordinator Kali Spence (Natalie Brown) they try to investigate the source of the ooze that is causing so many deaths. Somehow they end up teaming up with an ex-cop and a quirky scientist to get to the heart of the matter and discover that the ooze from the ground is a natural force out to the destroy them all, so of course Sorbo must defeat it.

Don’t let the cover of the DVD fool you, there are no tentacles, no evil swamp thing out to destroy, it’s just a hallucinogenic ooze that drives people to suicide. However every time there’s a death, there’s not even an acknowledgement, just some cheap cheesy music and some cuts to some bad acting that’s shocked and disgusted with something too horrible to even consider being shown on TV. The film is so blatantly made-for-TV the brief fade to black segments that make up commercial breaks have been left in, leaving a few seconds of silence every few minutes in order to make for a better broadcasting. This seems like something that could be easily edited out, but they may as well have left it in since this is the type of film that should just stay in reruns rather than giving full time to it.

Suprisingly, Kevin Sorbo seems pretty engaged in the movie, most of the other actors either under or over perform their roles, but Sorbo is well attuned to the kind of cheesy or ridiculous dialogue that he has to muddle through and so actually comes off fairly funny in the film. Other than that the actors are just there for the sake of having people do things to carry you between the opening of the film and the closing credits. Director David Winning’s expertise in B-level television could have brought more, he actually has a history of working with Sorbo on the short-lived “Andromeda” (2000-2005) TV series, but there’s nothing really good here. He doesn’t know when to show something and when to just let it be, focusing in too much when the bad graphics become blatantly horrible and cutting away from some potentially cool looking effects that could have worked out a lot better.

Overall a really bad film, blatantly made-for-TV with some really bad graphics, but could have been made more fun for its DVD release in throwing in some over the top elements. As it stands there’s not much to enjoy here, unless you need to see everything Kevin Sorbo has done.

Video

Thankfully the film was presented in a 1.78:1 anamorphic aspect ratio and is fairly clean, but feels incredibly washed out and bland in terms of visuals. The graphics aren’t very good and the colors don’t really pop out that much, which could have been done better even at this made-for-TV level considering the main enemy is a purple goo that gets spread on things.

Audio

Similarly bland is the English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround sound track that just does enough to get the audio across. The background sounds are fairly poor, some really cheap sound effects for the evil goop. However the levels are fine between the two and there aren’t any real trenches in terms of quality gaps, but the sound is just plain and fairly uninteresting.
There are no optional subtitles available on this disc.

Extras

No real extras, just a start-up bonus trailer for the “Maneater” series of films which runs for 1 minute and 27 seconds.

Overall

The Film: F Video: C+ Audio: B Extras: F Overall: D

 


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