Starting with the opening scene, What Lies Below proves that you can make an unintentionally funny movie in 2020. The sheer level of overacting and forced vibes in the opening scene tells you that you’re in for a treat. And we haven’t even met the best thing about this movie: John Smith. I personally prefer bad movies from eighties and nineties because the newer ones feel just too low-budget and gimmicky. Sometimes they were even intentionally trying to create this so bad they are good vibe. And yes, I’m talking about Asylum movies. However, there are a couple of exceptions to this rule like Shark Attack 3: Megalodon  or Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus .
Starring Mena Suvari (American Pie, American Beauty), What Lies Below should not be confused with What Lies Beneath, a pretty decent thriller with Michelle Pfieffer and Harrison Ford. This is a hilariously bad movie with a lot of wooden acting, mostly done by hunky Trey Tucker who spends most of the movie half-naked. If you have a partner who’s not really interested in these movies, this is how you might nudge them towards this one. In almost all of his scenes he was incredibly awkward, not knowing how to position his hands or to move naturally. I feel bad for writing this because the guy did his best and he really looks good. However, I would be lying if I didn’t mention it.
He plays an aquatic geneticist because why not. I’m sure that such a thing exists. And it’s certainly not related to the infamous marine biologist. Here’s a fun game, try to guess will the next scene feature him taking off his shirt or just walking in half-naked. You can see what they were trying to do in almost every scene and plot twist. The only problem is that everything is just so clumsy and on the nose that it turned out hilarious. From sexual tension over mystery to horror, it’s all just so weird that you can’t help but laugh. The scriptwriting must have gone like this: and then he like licks it and she’s all like weirded out like. yeah like that’s creepy. yeah. yeah. let’s use that. It’s also pretentiously sciency using terms like somnambulism instead of sleepwalking and demonstrating salinity with ice cube tricks. Okay, that last one was pretty cool, I’ll give them that.
What Lies Below is a very entertaining movie and almost every scene provides an opportunity to find something funny. Just when you think that there’s nothing odd going on, they open the hundredth diet cola can or our aquatic geneticist does something funny. Towards the end, it actually starts getting interesting and I really liked the ending. It was something that gave me hope that we can expect much better movies from Braden. I feel he compromised a lot with this one, trying to make it commercial and without any nudity or gore.
Set in a big mansion and featuring a small cast of characters, I can’t help but mention Stuart Gordon’s Castle Freak or Colour out of Space as examples of great Lovecraftian movies. Actually, The Creature Below, a 2016 horror movie is a much better movie with a similar story. If you want to find out what they were going for with What Lies Below, check it out. So, as we’re nearing the end of this shitty pandemic, here’s a fun movie to take your mind of things for ninety minutes. Enjoy.
Director: Braden R. Duemmler
Writer: Braden R. Duemmler
Cast: Ema Horvath, Mena Suvari, Trey Tucker, Olan Montgomery, Haskiri Velazquez, Danny Corbo
Fun Facts: Debut for director and writer Braden R. Duemmler