Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Beneath Still Waters |
Actors: Michael McKell, Raquel Meroño, Charlotte Salt, Patrick Gordon, Manuel Manquina
Director: Brian Yuzna
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
A supernatural force is devouring the village of Marinbad and its inhabitants, and is threatening to spread beyond its geographical limits. A group of men from the village manage to convince the authorities to build a dam,... more »
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Brian Yuzna's answer to Dagon
Robert P. Beveridge | Cleveland, OH | 10/12/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Beneath Still Waters (Brian Yuzna, 2005)
I'd probably have passed the one up altogether were it not based on a Matthew Costello novel. I had no idea when I sat down to watch it that it was directed by Stuart Gordon protege Brian Yuzna, who's done some very interesting stuff over the years (though, to be fair, some not-so-interesting stuff as well). Yuzna, as Gordon before him (with Dagon), heads over to Spain, presumably to make a cheaper movie, casts a few minor personages on their way up and some established Spanish stars, and injects as much Lovecraftian silliness into this manuscript as he possibly can. But for the production values and Yuzna's slightly less-steady hand, this might as well be a Gordon flick, and I mean that as praise.
In 1965, the small Spanish town of Marienbad is to be flooded when a dam is built to supply power to the new neighboring town, Desbaria. Two children are investigating the town before it gets flooded, and they discover something horrific-- four people chained in the basement of one of the houses. One of them sets the leader free and is killed for his troubles; the other flees, retreating into insanity for the rest of his days. Fast-forward to the fortieth anniversary of the dam, and Desbaria is putting on a celebration. It's drawn Dan Quarry, a journalist (Michael McKell, of the long-running daytime soap Doctors) who's doing a story on the sunken town, and Teresa Borgia (Raquel Merono, who showed up-- surprise!-- in Dagon), daughter of the last mayor of Marienbad and the first mayor of Desbaria, a plucky news reporter. (For there must always be a plucky news reporter.) Teresa's daughter, Clara (Charlotte Salt, of the upcoming Beowulf), London born and bred, is desperately bored with the small town. Until all hell breaks loose, that is. Clara's grandfather appears to her in dreams, warning her that the leader of the local coven of Satan-worshippers is going to return. You guessed it, it's the guy the kid set free in the opening sequence. And so Clara, with indirect help from her mother and Quarry, have to find a way to put an end to said cultist's evil machinations.
First off: if you're familiar with the Gordon/Yuzna axis, especially in the last decade or so, you should be well aware that what you're getting is going to be a low-budget cheesy movie. No nine-figure budgets to be found in Yuzna movies. So you can't go in expecting a glossy Hollywood production; a good part of movie appreciation is being able to look at things through the right frame. You have to expect barely credible acting (at most), a completely off-the-wall script, inconsistent direction, etc. In other words, this ain't Spielberg, and you should have lower standards when viewing it. Once you're on that level, Beneath Still Waters delivers pretty well. McKell gives the kind of performance you used to get from action-movie heroes, back in the day-- gritty, somewhat understated, resigned to the fact that if he has to save the world and die in the process, well, that's his job. The rest of the performances aren't all that great, but Yuzna takes the time-honored cheesy low-budget movie tactic of simply having everyone overact to the point of parody, and it's all okay. The effects are surprisingly decent (in spots, just as in Dagon) for a production of this level, and the script, while not exactly watertight, certainly isn't bad. The movie woke a desire in me to read the book, at least, and see what they changed to put all this into movie form, besides the names of the towns. ** ½"
All over the map
falcon | canada | 03/15/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)
"wow,this thing is really all over the place.sometimes the acting is not bad.at other times,it' not good at all.the dialogue ranges from decent to lame.sometimes there's just no context.the tone is a mess.i can't tell if it was supposed to be a thriller, or a black comedy,or a parody.sometimes this thing is just so over the top,it's ridiculous.then,all of a sudden it switches gears,and it seems like it's trying to be serious.there's really more than one movie here.i guess it was an entertaining mess,if nothing else.i give it a 2--no wait--a 5--i mean a 4--or maybe a 3.wait a minute.i'm all over the place.kinda like this movie.i can't give it a rating.i wouldn't know where to start.but since i have to,i guess a 2* rating is as good as any. 2/5
More enjoyable than it probably should be
Bakuryuu Tyranno | England | 12/29/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If this were my first time watching this, I definitely would've only given it two stars. I'll get to that soon.
This film, which involves an occult force, the leader of which is able to summon a supernatural power than slowly corrupts the town, not surprisingly has something of a Lovecraftian feel to it - well, the kind of feel that usually comes with movie adaptations of Lovecraft stories at least, which isn't so good, but moving on...
Good: Actually the earlier parts of the movie succeed in achieving an ominous feel with disappearances, signs that "something" is not right in this town and such. The back story flashback that appears later is creepy and... er, some of the characters had potential I guess. The cult lead is kind of intimidating.
Bad: Narrative seems to skip from the mother to the daughter abruptly and sometimes in confusing ways. Most central characters didn't get enough focus. The pacing towards the end felt rushed. The cult leader's powers aren't well-defined and he seems to gain new abilities out of nowhere, and not even for the sake of plot.
So yeah, bad overwhelms good here. Unfortunately.
But here's the thing: like most DVD's I buy here, I saw the movie on TV first - a few times actually - and... well, obviously I liked it (well, moderately enjoyed it at least)otherwise I wouldn't want the DVD (this is why I don't give many negative reviews here). I think that I can re-watch it says something, at least, considering the runtime."
HORRIBLE FILM. THE TRUE EURO-TURKEY.
Paulo Leite | Lisbon, Portugal | 03/05/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Nothing of any interest here. Rent something else!
This is a Spanish film shot in English with Spanish actors - so expect a huge latitude of accents (from laughable to hilarious). The story starts from a promising (an old village submerged by a big dam) and sinks fast into cliché (there was a devilish population of orgiastic devil worshipers there who suddenly come back 40 years after the fact to get some revenge).
The film could have been a nice thing if it was not for an ultimately bad script that boosts laughable characters, laughable situations, a contrived story and many many many genre clichés. The effects are not bad, but one would expect better ideas.
Mr. Yuzna, who is a talented director, keeps working with bad scripts and ruining his reputation. He should make less films and better ones. This is a Spanish quickie project made to exploit the relationship between the Spanish producer and the American distributor. Beware!"