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What Lies Beneath
What Lies Beneath
Actors: Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer, Katharine Towne, Miranda Otto, James Remar
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Genres: Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
PG-13     2008     2hr 10min

In this exciting supernatural thriller, Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer play a seemingly happily married couple who uncover a terrible secret...a secret so disturbing it threatens to destroy them. When Claire Spencer b...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer, Katharine Towne, Miranda Otto, James Remar
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Creators: Robert Zemeckis, Cherylanne Martin, Jack Rapke, Joan Bradshaw, Mark Johnson, Clark Gregg, Sarah Kernochan
Genres: Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Dreamworks Video
Format: DVD - Color,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 09/09/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2000
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2000
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 2hr 10min
Screens: Color,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
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Movie Reviews

Just when you thought classy, classic terror was dead...
takintime | Raleigh, NC USA | 08/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Don't get me wrong, I like good special effects as well as the next person, but all too often they have been use to pump life into a sagging story. I was beginning to think that the days of the true terror/horror movies were over. I am talking about the ones when a good story, well acted by truly professional actors,under the direction of an exceptional director produced the suspense and fear that made you jump in your seat. But, at last, here it is again, and it was worth the wait.Zemekis has definitely mastered the genre. He has his fun with us, the audience. We more or less accept that the house where Clarie (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Norman (Harrison Ford) Spencer reside is haunted at the beginning, but as Claire's hypothesis about the identity of the ghost unravels, you begin to believe that perhaps she is beginning to lose her mind, as her husband delicately (at that point of the movie) suggests. Even Claire begins to believe it. After all, she is in the middle of remodeling the beautiful home of her husband's childhood after her only child has left for college. Then, too, there was that hideous single-car accident in which she was involved no more than a year earlier. So she assumes that perhaps she is the victim of an overactive imagination and of having to much time on her hands. So she gamely and bravely sets out to continue being the perfect wife of her perfect celebrated high-society husband who is directing some very important and profitable medical research programs.But soon the evidence of stalking supernatural horror becomes so overwhelming that even logical, pragmatic Norman can't dismiss it as nonsense. He believes his wife, to her relief, and goes so far as to call a parapsychologist associate at Duke University to ask his advice. He wishes to rid the Normans' life of this other-worldly presence as much as Claire does. And it is more or less at this point that the fun really begins.After finally acquiring her husband's trust about a highly controversial matter, about which nearly no one else believes her, Claire almost immediately loses her trust in Norman when she learns that her picture perfect life is a facade, that the facade is cracking, and that the crack is spreading to the size of the San Andreas Fault. The film then becomes a true craft of suspense, thrills and terror as Claire tries to avoid threats from this world and the next. It is a great temptation to rapsodize about the excellent job Pfeiffer does from that point on as the terrorized and set-upon Clair, the fine performance Ford delivers as her superficially supportive and apologetic mate, and the great surprise ending of this movie. However, I couldn't do the job right without revealing the ending of the story, which is definitely one of its treats. I will just say that it was a perfect conclusion of the crescendo of suspense and horror that built up to it, and leave it at that. I wouldn't spoil the fun of another viewer for anything.There is a fine supporting cast in this movie, and Zemeckis knows just how much to show them and then remove them so that they truly support rather than detract from the main plot. And the beautiful New England lakeside scenery where much of the action takes place is another fine element of the film.You will jump, gasp and cover your eyes all the way through this film and enjoy every minute of it. Thanks to Pfeiffer, Ford and Zemeckis for a film that has been justifiably compared to those of Hitchcock. I have to believe that even Hitch himself would have enjoyed this one."
Genuinely Creepy
Bradford Wilson | Louisville, KY | 12/21/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"In a time in which good horror/suspense movies are few and far between, Robert Zemeckis brings us a wonderfully and surprisingly taut and well-balanced thriller filmed in the grand tradition of the great Alfred Hitchcock. Finally, a horror movie that doesn't rely on fake blood and cheesy special effects to wow the crowd, or attempt to scare the feeble minded. The movie is centered around a couple, recently moved, who has discovered a supernatural presence in their new dwelling. The wife, Claire (played beautifully by Michelle Pfeiffer, in one of the best female performances of the year) believes it to be the ghost of the neighbor she suspects has been murdered. The husband, Norman (played well by Harrison Ford) of course, thinks she is crazy. The movie twists and turns around this basic central plot, leading to an ending that, although not terrible, I'm still not quite buying. The greatness of the movie comes not from the plot, but from the style in which the film was created. Some of the devices are a bit overused (a door opens mysteriously about three times too many), but not too much as to distract the viewer. There are some great scenes that, although clichéd, (there's a wonderful scene that borrows heavily from Rear Window) work beautifully and really instill a sense of apprehension in the viewer. Also, Zemeckis utilizes silence to build suspense where a lesser director might use the old disonant-music-crescendos-into-a-big-loud-scare tactic that we see all too often in horror movies. Somewhere along the way, the line between horror movies and slasher films has blurred. It seems now that if you want to scare people, all you need is some fake blood and a knife. This movie proves that something can still be scary without dumbing it down."
Hitchcock's ghost
M. Rausseo | Planet Earth | 08/18/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Robert Zemeckis makes his homage to Hitchcock in What Lies Beneath, starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer.

The Spencer's -Claire and Norman- are a supposedly happy and successful marriage. He is a prominent scientist, she's an ex musician that just left her only daughter at college. Free time takes Mrs. Spencer to spy on her neighbors, and from that activity she believes that a crime has been perpetrated next door. Insecure and nervous, Claire's paranoia grows as a series of paranormal events take place in her perfect home: doors open and close, electrical equipment turn on automatically, spectral visions in the bathtub. Are all these things related? That's one of the many secrets the movie hides.

A lonely home, secrets trying to be revealed, darkness, ghosts and the impending sensation that we are not sure what our eyes are seeing, What Lies Beneath has enough elements to hook you up for a scary time. Zemeckis takes advantage from every trick, cliche and ideas to spice the story, until he leaves us with a terrible deja vu sensation. The result is a supernatural thriller cleverly built, part psychological, part ghost story.

And one could very well wonder, when Michelle Pfeiffer sees a spectral reflex on the water, if the ghost we are seeing is indeed Mr Hitchcock.

As soon as the credits vanish, we take a walk from moments of Rear Window, Suspicion, Vertigo and even Psycho. The cinematic references overwhelm us, from the lead man's name, the disturbing music score, the movie's rhythm, the creepy house alone on a hill. Hitch's fans will enjoy tremendously this tribute

Pfeiffer and Ford are two stars talented and very charismatic, whose performances give more depth to the story. Pfeiffer, above all, is very convincing as the housewife victim of a series of inexplicable events. Her terror and her pain are very truthful. Ford is somewhat relegated to a second place.

In the end, the secrets that hide What Lies Beneath are not so interesting. The excess of subplots, tributes and tricks make the movie into a series of brilliant moments that are bigger than the whole. For the entertaining time, we can thank Zemeckis. For the suspense and fear that comes from our inner souls, let's thank Hitchcock, the man that understood that, in a good story, there must lie beneath secrets and emotions too scary to be revealed ever."
Nick Gonnella | 02/02/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Norman and Claire Spencer (Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer) are a happily married couple whose lives are about to change.Settling in a new home, and coming to grips with her daughter going off to college, Claire, will begin to see ghostly images, and hear voices...this will escalate to doors opening, computers turning on by themself, and horrifying personal messages.At first, Claire, attributes these things to stress, but when they become all too-real she begins investigating the clues that are being given to her.It seems the disappearance of a young girl (the beautiful Amber Valletta) who bears a striking resemblence to Claire, is somehow connected to this family, and her ghost will not rest until until someone pays for their sins."What Lies Beneath" is a superb shocker, that grabs the viewer immediately and pulls them on a 2 hour ride of supernatural thrills and chills. Although the trailer gave away more information than it should have, I will not...leaving all the shocks intact in the film.Great acting, great scares, and great direction make for a very entertaining movie experience.Nick Gonnella"