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What Lies Beneath

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: What Lies Beneath

Starring: Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 130 Minutes
Release Date: July 2000
Genres: Horror, Suspense

*Also starring: Wendy Crewson, Joe Morton, Amber Valletta, James Remar, Rachel Singer

Review by Susan Granger
2½ stars out of 4

The greatest mystery in this psychological thriller is why the trailer gives away so many of the carefully designed plot twists and turns. After all, isn't a suspense story supposed to be full of surprises? That having been said, compliments are due to director Robert Zemeckis ("Forrest Gump") who uses technology to enhance his craftsmanship, rather than substitute for it; to Harrison Ford who has the courage and conviction to play a believably flawed, obsessed hero; and to Michelle Pfeiffer who manages to be wet and wild at the same time. They're a supposedly happily married couple - he's a respected geneticist and she was a concert cellist - who live in a beautiful house on a lake in bucolic Vermont next to some provocative neighbors. She has a daughter (Katharine Towne) from a previous marriage whom they've just packed off to college when she hears mysterious, whispering voices and spies a wraithlike ghost in their home. Is it a poltergeist or her repressed anxieties? "Something is happening in our house," she wails, oozing paranoia and vulnerability. Indeed it is. It seems her husband had an affair with a suicidal woman that may have come back to haunt him. But why? And what lies beneath? Obviously influenced by Alfred Hitchcock's penchant for scary elements that emerge credibly, Robert Zemeckis adds complicated camera moves and a unique ability as an illusionist, which he uses to full advantage during the final half-hour. While Harrison Ford conveys his usual stalwart strength which, in this case, has creepy overtones, it's Michelle Pfeiffer who carries Clark Gregg's somewhat predictable screenplay, adapted from his story with Sarah Kernochan. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "What Lies Beneath" is a menacing, ominous 6 - if you like the strange and supernatural.

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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