BENEATH *** USA 2014 Dir: Ben Ketai. 85 mins
Not to be confused with a few other recent horror movies also called BENEATH (one of them an old-school creature feature from Larry Fessenden), this is a claustrophobic survivalist chiller in which veteran miner Jeff Fahey heads 600 feet under with his environmental law officer daughter (Kelly Noonan) one last time before retirement. An accident traps them
and their crew and, with oxygen supplies depleting, panic sets in, alongside existing insecurities – leading to hallucinations, violence and death. Although its impact is inevitably reduced by the immense shadow of Neil Marshall’s peerless THE DESCENT, this small-scale entry in the on-running trend for psychological horrors set in confined spaces has decent performances and sustained tension. The movie is deliberately ambiguous about its visual horrors, all of which can be interpreted as hallucinations as the characters lose it and the situation gets ever more dire. It does, however, offer the kind of gruesomely realistic injuries that are common to this sub-genre and some eerie frissons from the suffocating location.
Review by Steven West