'Beneath the Darkness' Shockya.com Movie Review, Written by: Karen Benardello
Director: Martin Guigui (‘Raging Bull II’)
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Aimee Teegarden (TV’s ‘Friday Night Lights’) and Tony Oller (TV’s ‘Gigantic’)
The appeal of living in small American towns is that everyone knows their neighbors, and they’re a safe environment for children to grow up in. But when a seemingly respectable pillar of the community is actually full of rage, and is willing to unleash fear on anyone who threatens to expose his secrets, the psychological terror is enough to frighten anyone. That’s certainly the case in the new horror-thriller ‘Beneath the Darkness,’ a chilling character-driven film which effectively relies on its characters’ motives and reactions, instead of blood and gore, to scare its audience.
‘Beneath the Darkness’ follows four high school friends, Travis (played by Tony Oller), Abby (portrayed by Aimee Teegarden), Brian (played by Stephen Lunsford) and Danny (portrayed by Devon Werkheiser), as their curiosity about the local mortician, Ely Vaughn (played by Dennis Quaid), grows. While Ely has been a respected member of their community in Smithville, Texas, since he was the quarterback in high school, he has become increasingly withdrawn since the death of his wife two years ago. When the friends spy on Ely and see him dancing with a mysterious woman in his bedroom, they decide to sneak into his house after he leaves to find out who the woman is.
Once the teens enter Ely’s house to investigate, they discover a long-hidden secret he wishes to keep buried. Before they can flee the scene, Ely returns, and has no qualms about hurting the teens to keep his secret hidden. While Travis and Abby are determined to prove Ely’s guilt, the community doesn’t believe that such a withstanding citizen can carry out the horrific acts they have accused him of doing.
Director Martin Guigui created a unique, memorable psychological thriller with ‘Beneath the Darkness,’ which distinguishes itself from other modern horror films that heavily rely on blood and gore to tell their stories. The film emphasized the psychological terror its disturbing main character forces onto the teenagers. Guigui doesn’t visually show much of what Travis, Abby and their friends find when searching Ely’s house, and instead focuses on the physical and emotional threats the mortician makes towards the teens after finding them in his bedroom.
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