Director Martin Guigui’s new movie “Beneath the Darkness” may feel like more of a spoof on the horror genre than a straight-forward horror film in and of itself. However, if one thing is for sure, it is that you will have fun watching it.
Part of the reason for that is star Dennis Quaid, who has always been a little creepy but, until now, has never really fully embraced the quality. Had any other actor – especially one that seemed like more of a legitimate threat – headlined this flick, it simply would not have worked. However, Quaid’s presence makes the movie work as – if as nothing else – eccentric entertainment.
In “Beneath the Darkness,” which is available today on Blu-ray and DVD at retail stores and rental outlets throughout the Valley, Quaid plays Ely, a well-respected mortician who was was once a heralded high school football star. However, this pillar of the community is actually a flesh-and-blood monster who buries his victims alive – a sociopath who befriends adults and police while openly flaunting his murderous intentions to teenagers.
Therefore, why in the world would any teenager willingly enter Ely’s home? Yet, that is exactly what four of them do. Said teenagers – played by Tony Oller, Aimee Teegarden, Stephen Lunsford and Devon Werkheiser – see something spooky in Ely’s house and decide to sneak in to investigate. That turns out to be a deadly mistake.
Needless to say, the late screenwriter Bruce Wilkinson does not paint these characters with any intelligence whatsoever. But, that is part of the fun here, as Guigui carefully balances “Beneath the Darkness’s” tone between horror and comedy. That is to say that nothing in this movie is meant to be taken too seriously, as evidenced by Quaid’s quirky performance.
Granted, that is not to say that Quaid does anything less than a spectacular job of being scary. To be honest, I have always been a little afraid of him (and that includes his turn in the 2005 family flick “Yours, Mine and Ours”). All joking aside, he makes quite the convincing villain. However, his character appears to be just a tad off his rocker.
Therefore, although serious consequences may occur over the course of the motion picture, the experience is more amusing than terrifying. The extent of that effect may be unintentional but, ultimately, who cares so long as the movie gets the job done. In other words, “Beneath the Darkness” is so bad that it is good.
And I sincerely say that with the utmost respect. (One must cover his behind to ensure that Dennis Quaid does not show up on his doorstep. Shudder the thought.)
“Beneath the Darkness” (R – 96 minutes) is now available on Blu-ray and DVD at retail stores and rental outlets throughout the Valley.