Under the Bed Blu-ray Review
A kid’s biggest fear at night isn’t some monster he saw in a horror movie. It’s something they can’t exactly describe, because their version is far different from anyone else’s. It lives in their closet or under their bed and only comes out when the blankets are pulled up high and mom and dad are in bed.
Teenager Neal Hausman (Jonny Weston, CHASING MAVERICKS) was so disturbed by an encounter with such a bogeyman that he left town to stay with a relative for two years. Now he’s home, and his father, Terry (Peter Holden, SAINTS AND SOLDIERS), makes it clear he just wants his family to be normal, which explains why he rushed out to get remarried.
The only one that believes him is his younger brother Paulie (Gattlin Griffith, GREEN LANTERN). One day at the local diner, Neal shows Paulie a sketch of the creature and asks if he has ever seen it before. “At night. Every night,” he says. From there, the brothers spend a lot of time staring at the bedroom door and studying the bed itself. Appliances start going bump in the night and Neal has visions of fire, which directly link to his mother’s death just before he left home.
This is the kind of plot that might have made a fairly enjoyable (or campy) ‘80s horror movie, maybe of THE GATE or MONSTER SQUAD variety. There are kids that must team up to overcome their fear/the monster, parents who turn two deaf ears to the matter (and whose lines don’t extend much farther than, “We used to be normal!” and “Grow up…be a man!”), damaged home relationships, a grand finale where the boys do their all to triumph, and the like. But in 2012, when we know how such tactics as shaking dressers and desks, floating toys and smoky rooms are all achieved, such a movie is old hat and light on frights.
UNDER THE BED is written by Eric Stolze (who you shouldn’t confuse with the actor of the near-same name) and directed by Steven C. Miller, who previously directed the remake of SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT and the After Dark entry SCREAM OF THE BANSHEE, with Lauren Holly. And although both likely had some run-ins with bogeymen back in their nightlight days and it’s clear they were inspired by that and the aforementioned kid-centric horror flicks, UNDER THE BED is an incredibly hollow effort.
The script works in too many subplots—a neighborhood girl (Kelcie Stranahan, LAST HOURS IN SUBURBIA) clearly wants to see Neal’s bedroom for non-bogeyman reasons—that do nothing to add to the story. Elsewhere, it is devoid entirely of earned scares, resorting to random and violent bangs and booms and a convulsing washer/dryer set that better come with a warranty.
UNDER THE BED BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: 2.40:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. This is a fairly strong high-definition transfer that does its best work during the nighttime scenes (the last act, in particular), as it offers deep blacks that keep certain things appropriately in the shadows.
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Subtitles in English. The audio transfer is also very good and makes the bangs and bumps loud enough to get a few jumps.