Hey, remember when those Chilean miners got trapped underground? That sure was a horrible tragedy, right?
NOPE not so horrible that you can’t immediately capitalize on it to make a mediocre movie starring that actress who was a murder victim on an episode of Bones once! But without any Chileans in it because let’s be real – this one’s about people in Pennsylvania or something.
Beneath is about Sam, the daughter of a coal miner out to prove she can be a coal miner just like everybody else in her depressing town with a single horribly abusive industry, because this isn’t CLEARLY the plot of a movie where everyone is going to die. While Sam has been at hippy dippy liberal school learning environmental law LIKE A GODDAMN BLEEDING HEART NERD, her father is suffering from a mine-related illness and is losing the ability to work, which means she is going to have to figure out how to make money for her family in a town with no money. After she learns that her father’s coal mining friends all think she’s a girly girl who couldn’t hack it as a miner, she decides to go underground one day to prove them wrong, with her father coming along as a supervisor and everyone thinks this is cool.
WHAT THE FUCK.
First of all, don’t ever do something just to prove someone else wrong because you should live your own truth and also because you are definitely guaranteed to die that way. Second of all, WHAT GROUP OF MINERS WOULD BE COOL WITH A TWENTY-SOMETHING LAW STUDENT TRYING TO PLAY MINER WITH THEM. From what I understand, coal mining is incredibly difficult and DANGEROUS and nobody wants goddamn Becky With The Good Hair fucking everything up while literally everyone’s lives are at stake.
THIS IS A BAD FUCKING PLAN.
Anyway, then the mine shaft collapses SURPRISE and a bunch of the miners are killed instantly and many more are injured, Sam and her father among them. This is when we learn that a group of miners were buried alive in this same mine in the 20s and they all died and are maybe ghosts now?, because we must wedge ghosts into a movie that is ALREADY TERRIFYING THANK YOU.
What’s truly scary about the situation is that, in addition to the emergency-in-an-enclosed-space type conflicts that arise in these movies (yes, Beneath and Below are two distinct films in this genre, don’t get confused), in Beneath we also have the looming specter of suffocation. As the oxygen supply gets noticeably low, the survivors start to lose their shit, suffering from paranoia and hallucinations that cause everyone to turn on each other. Beneath is scary because oxygen depravation is real and our fragile squishy minds are like THIS CLOSE to homicide under the right circumstances.
Even given my beef with the premise of this whole thing (NO ONE TAKES HIPPY LAW SCHOOL SAMANTHA TO THE MINES), Beneath is actually a pretty tense film with some truly scary moments. There are lots of “is this real or is this a hallucination” horror movies out there and oh boy howdy will we get into them (all fucking nine hundred of them) but this is one of the more effective ones, because not only is the protagonist losing her mind as her brain slowly starves, everyone else is too, which means that any one of them could legitimately turn against her and her father to conserve precious air, or what if they’re not and she’s just crazy OR WHAT IF THEY ARE AND THEY’RE JUST CRAZY.
Overall, surprisingly solidly done and I was successfully drawn in……FOUR HORRORS.
Now speaking of people losing their shit, I will be taking tomorrow off for the election, because I will be too drunk to write this and you will be too drunk to read it and I will be back the day after, unless Orange Hitler wins and then I will just start blogging about everyday life in America because that will be the worst horror movie of them all.