Saturday, July 5, 2014

At the Movies: 'What Lies Beneath'

Life between Dr Norman Spenser and his wife Claire is normal.  They are a loving, couple who have just seen their only daughter off to university and Claire has a slight case of 'empty nest' syndrome for a little while... or does she?  They're living in Norman's late-father's house which they inherited and she has turned into a lovely lakeside home with breathtaking views onto the lake, a gorgeous garden with tall, handsome trees towering overhead and great neighbours nearby.
This is until Norman is off at work a lot and Claire is stuck at home alone.  She begins to feel as though she's not alone... with the front door always being ajar, or opening on its own, the stereo turning itself off and on and the computer playing 'Solitaire' when she hasn't even turned it on, Claire has the feeling something just isn't right - especially when the initials on the highest score is MEF... the same initials as her next door neighbour's wife (who has gone missing!).  Claire goes off the deep end pretty soon as she starts spying on the neighbour's husband - and yes, he knows she's doing it - and then creeps out her husband as well.  This is when Norman suggests she goes to see a shrink... which she does just to see if she really is losing her mind.  The shrink listens to her calmly as she tells him that she thinks her house is haunted; and he advises her to 'make contact'.  So, with her friend, Jody, Claire does just that and goes out and buys a talking board from K-Mart.  But nothing happens, so she puts it all down to being an idiot - and feeling like one - and puts everything away.  However, after Jody goes home, the ghost in the house makes more obvious moves to show Claire exactly who she is and why she thinks Claire is in danger, by knocking over a picture frame and revealing an article about a missing girl by the name of Madison Elizabeth Frank - this is where things get really interesting.
Claire starts surfing the net and finds out more than she really wants to about Madison.  Her friend, Jody, had an idea that Norman might have been cheating on her, but didn't know if he was or not.
Everything gets twisted around more when Claire arrives home one day to find Jody had left her a book she had tracked down on Witchcraft and Spells; and Claire tries one out - where she needs a physical part of the Madison, and ends up getting a loch of her hair from her mother by going to visit her to see what Madison actually looked like.  Well, once the spell was cast, and Madison's spirit had a host (which was Claire), things really took on a life of its own.  This pisses off Norman because he knows that Claire is getting close to knowing a secret he doesn't want his wife to know and Madison is out to make things even.  In the end, Norman thinks it's right to take out Claire as well and put an end to this whole thing - but his wife has other ideas in mind; and it includes letting Madison's spirit to spook him out just enough to save her and find her resting place as well.

I love this film.  It's purely made from Hitchcock standards and has me sitting on the edge of my seat each time.  I first saw this movie on the big screen with a now ex-boyfriend; and one of the audience members nearly ruined it for everyone by blurting out what was coming next.  I ended up telling the guy to shut up or get out... he chose the latter.  You just don't wreck a movie like that.  

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