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Beneath: A little bit stinky, a little bit fun

I know what you’re thinking. Susan, this is not a shark movie. Except there is no way you’ve watched this movie so you wouldn’t be thinking that at all. At any rate, you got me there. This is not a shark movie. It is a lake monster movie. I figured I’d branch out this week. At least it’s sharksploitation adjacent. 

This is not a good movie per se but it kept my interest and had some delightful surprises, especially at the end. Also Don Salamanca from Breaking Bad is in it. He ain’t in it much but when he is, it is quite pleasing. He really should do more horror with that creepy voice and googly, hate-filled eyes. I really thought this film had the typical plot where sex-crazed idiot teens get picked off until the final girl walks off, bloodied and more badass. It is not that exactly. 

First, let’s discuss the monster. It’s a lake fish of some sort, grown to a larger size. Not a monstrous size. Just kind of a big size. Like my T-shirt size now compared to 20 years ago. I adored that they used practical effects. The fish is a puppet and I am in love with him. Adorbs. 

Next, one of the characters, Johnny, knows about the fishy the entire time. He seems to be some sort of cryptid buff and also has a toothy talisman necklace (important for later in the movie). And he says nothing. NOTHING. Ever. He just stares at the others with a vapid look while they all go swimming. Then they start dying…still keeps mum. I was hoping for a backstory to the fishy but there was none. I can’t decide if I love that or hate it. Maybe I’m just used to the backstories being shoved in my face like a cinematic ball gag. Perhaps mystery is a good thing. The back story would probably suck anyway. Lab experiment gone wrong, ancient cave opens from fracking, environmental pollution, love child of a sturgeon and Lorenzo Lamas, blah blah blah. 

The movie also didn’t really focus on the fishy. It was more like The Walking Dead where the real monster is US! They are stranded with no oars in a sinking rowboat. The group spends the entire movie arguing about who will be thrown overboard to certain death so they can distract the fishy long enough to try to paddle to shore. They keep sacrificing and it never works. The soap opera of petty teenage relationships keep a’spinnin and fishy keeps a’circlin. This strategy does not work out well for these folks. 

The ending is awesome. I won’t spoil it. Just know that it is not what I was expecting. Now, I want to reiterate that this is not the pinnacle of filmmaking. It’s not Citizen Kane of lake monster movies. It’s low budget and slow burning. I’m just saying that it is better than I thought and might be worth a gander on a lazy Sunday morning over your Kahlua and pop tarts. 

And fucking Don Salamanca is in it. If you don’t know who that is, please slap yourself in the face repeatedly until you watch Breaking Bad. Hard. Draw blood. Shame on you. 

See ya next time!

Director: Larry Fessenden

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

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