Beneath the Darkness (Blu-ray)

Every year a score of films are released featuring well known actors – films that most of us don’t ever hear about until they hit the dollar bin at Wal-Mart. They usually carry the awe-inspiring moniker “Featuring the star of…” and then list a television show or movie that is worth your time. Every once in a while, you find gold! But sadly, if you’ve been one of the vast majority of people to pick up one of these films you know that 99 times out of 100, the old adage is true: “you get what you pay for.”

Dennis Quaid and Aimee Teegarden in Beneath The Darkness

BENEATH THE DARKNESS is the story of a ‘typical’ small town in Texas. Except, in the opening moments of the film, we learn that the town’s funeral home director, Vaughn Ely (played by Dennis Quaid), is a murderer. Fast forward two years and we are introduced to a young foursome of high-schoolers – Travis (our hero/anti-hero), Abby, Brian and Danny. These four teens are full of angst and fit every cliché you might expect. Travis (Tony Oller) is the loner/rebel with a dark past. Abby is the popular cheerleader. Danny is the class clown, the guy who gets along with everyone. Brian is the varsity QB.

Stephen Lunsford, Tony Oller, Aimee Teegarden, Devon Werkheiser

This foursome of totally relatable teens (can you feel the sarcasm) are looking for something to do in their small town, and we learn that the Ely house may be haunted. They decide to go to the house late one evening to confirm their suspicions, but are caught in the act by Mr. Ely, who kills one of them to send a message. Naturally, no one believes them when they go to the police so the teens decide that they have to take it upon themselves to stop him. Throw in a few more horror clichés and you basically have the entire picture.

BENEATH THE DARKNESS is a movie that actually premiered in select theaters in January 2012. I’m surprised that it even tried the theater circuit and wasn’t a ‘straight-to-video’ release, but I suppose there is a certain amount of interest in many new ‘thrillers’ that are released. The entire movie is essentially a lame attempt to recapture the magic of early Kevin Williamson works, like the SCREAM films or even DAWSON’S CREEK. You know the type of shows I’m talking about? The ones where all of the kids talk like adults and have real, adult problems. That’s what is attempted here, sans talent and writing ability.

Timothy Fall and Dennis Quaid

The problem that hits BENEATH THE DARKNESS in the face before the epilogue even comes to a close is that the writing is terrible and the acting is worse. Terrible doesn’t even begin to describe the horrors that we witness on the screen (which have nothing to do with the plot). Even the moments featuring Quaid feel forced and phony, and he is far and away the most talent we get to see on screen during this (thankfully, fairly short) 96 minute feature. Avoid this one.

BLU-RAY REVIEW

Video: (1080p, 2.35:1 Widescreen) The video transfer is, by far, the most professionally done part of this film, and does all that it can to immerse you in the experience.

Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The sound is satisfactory.

Behind the Scenes (02:38) Some video shot on set, basically showing the camera crew filming various scenes from the film. A waste of 2 minutes.

This Blu-ray also features the Theatrical Trailer (01:53) for the film.

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