It's Not Worth Going "Beneath" Review

There's not much that's outright bad  about Beneath, but as is so often the case with young film-makers, the absence of anything laugh-out-loud horrible doesn't always translate into something compellingly watchable. The "bottle" film is a nearly irresistible lure for the independent film-maker, what with the exceedingly low budget and promise of great returns (look no further than Buried), but the limited environment also presents challenges that are hard to equip for in film school (management of space, gradual acceleration of space). Though director Ben Ketai appears to make a valiant effort, he proves unequal to these challenges, and turns Beneath into something of a slog as a result.

One is hard-pressed to think of a cliché that goes unutilized in Beneath's set-up: the hard-bitten old-timer on his last day on the job, his daughter looking to prove she's just as tough as the guys, the blue collar rowdies suspicious of anything outside their shrinking world. All are trapped in a coal mine after an explosion, and forced to work together to find a way out, and figure out what to do about that "something in the air" that turns their compatriots into zombies. There was promise here (though the zombie subplot feels unwelcome given the opportunity for some solid character work), but Ketai's hand never feels sure enough to put the premise on solid ground.


The DVD has a commentary with director Ketai, writers Patrick J. Doody and Chris Valenziano, and producers Nick Phillips and Kelly Martin Wagner, Interviews, a "From Script To Screen" writer's feature, "Lessons From Below: Miner Education", Breaking News Reports, Newsreel - The 19, and trailer.

"Beneath" is on sale October 28, 2014 and is not rated. Thriller. Directed by Ben Ketai. Written by Patrick Doody, Chris Valenziano. Starring Brent Briscoe, Eric Etebari, Jeff Fahey, Kurt Caceres, Molly Hagan.

Anders Nelson • Associate Editor


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