November 30, 2020 What Lies Below (Movie Review)
What makes a good Mystery/Thriller? Is it the ever enduring build or is it the constant curiosity as to what is going on? Well, on Friday, December 4th, What Lies Below will be revealed on Digital and On Demand via Vertical Entertainment.
Starring Ema Horvath (Like. Share. Follow. 2017, The Mortuary Collection 2019) and Trey Tucker (The Space Between Us 2017, The Outpost 2020), the Braden R. Duemmler written/directed film is about a girl who returns home two months after camp to meet her mother’s (Mena Suvari: American Beauty 1999, American Reunion 2012) new boyfriend. Although Prince Charming seems like a dream come true, something is definitely not right.
Libby (Horvath) struggles to figure out what it is exactly that does not sit right with her about this so-called Prince Charming – even more, what is he up to? Things become even more intense when she finds out her mother is going to marry this freak of nature. Tensions become more heated once Libby begins to warn her mother about John. The question is, does she want to know the truth? However, something must be done, considering her mother has become a bit obsessed with her prince.
The debut writing and directorial feature for Duemmler, with What Lies Below he wanted to embody something we have all been through as teenagers. In fact, Libby’s character is very relatable to the angst and curiosity of oneself found in many teens. In his research, Duemmler found that Libby could show that same awkwardness and self doubt that is typical for most teenagers, helping to make his characters feel very real. In this, Duemmler establishes a truly believable character with Libby, and Hovarth plays this role extremely well. Furthermore, Suvari’s character is very interesting to watch as she goes from a happy, corny mom to obsessed, all while Tucker’s character is all-around psychotic.
Successful in other aspects, as well, Duemmler does a solid job of leaving the ending of What Lies Below open for interpretation. However, the movie does feel a bit incomplete, since it never truly reveals what John is; but a good guess could probably be the answer. That in mind, as the movie begins, it is a bit slow. Relationships are established, locations are nailed down, and then when Libby decides to take a walk with her mother, things heat up as the mother-daughter combo begins to bicker and John decides to check on Libby.
When it is all said and done there are still some questions unanswered within What Lies Below. In all, you might question if this should be considered a Mystery/Thriller, not Thriller/Sci-Fi, or even a Mystery/Sci-Fi film. In fact, he mystery about the lake is quite compelling and could draw some to look at What Lies Below as Sci-Fi leaning, and even the mystery surrounding John Smith himself could be something more on the Sci-Fi side. But with an open ending, is there the possibility of second installment? Only time will tell, but for right now, Cryptic Rock gives What Lies Below 4 out of 5 stars.