Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Kyle Stanley, Dominique Croix, Christian Munden, Brett Lawrence
Directed by Blake Reigle
Distributed by Well Go USA, Inc
We live in a time when indie films (especially zombie themed ones) are a dime a dozen. Still, we here at Dread Central watch everything so we don’t miss that long sought after diamond in the usually very rough. To my delight, Beneath the Surface just so happens to be one of those shining spots amidst a sea of darkness. Strap in, folks, for another tale featuring one smoking hot living dead girl.
We all know Ethan (Stanley). Dare I say it — some of us have even been Ethan. He’s just another ultra-smart dude who doesn’t fit into the popular clique at school. Why? Because he would rather sketch a superhero than throw a football. Use his brain instead of his brawn. As a result the poor bastard ends up taking quite a bit of needless shit from the school jock squad. The biggest insult, however, comes in the fact that the love of his life, Kahlah (Croix), is dating Asshole #1.
How many times have you asked yourself, “What the fuck is that girl/guy doing dating that total idiot?” You know it won’t end well; why don’t they? Like I said, we’ve been there. As expected, things go wrong. Horribly wrong. Kahlah ends up six feet under, and Captain Jock-ass ends up going free thanks to his well-to-do daddy. On edge over the loss, Ethan turns to his neighbor, an archaeologist who happens to specialize in cultures that believe in the reanimation of the dead.
Convenient? Yes, but hey, this is a tongue-in-cheek zombedy, so just take the ride and dig! Long story short, Kahlah rises but is not really herself. She’s blank. She’ll only respond to Ethan, and even then it’s purely in a stand up, sit down, go here, go there type capacity. So the question beckons — can she help Ethan bring her killer to justice, or was this all for nothing?
Let me be frank; Beneath the Surface is not a perfect film. It has the usual pitfalls you’d expect to find in a low budget directorial debut. However, what sets it apart from the pack is the raw directorial talent and great writing sensibilities displayed by Reigle. Every character in the movie is so well drawn that you will instantly connect with each and every one of them. Under his direction the pacing moves along briskly, and even the darkest of subject matters like necrophilia, grave robbing, and murder are handled with the perfect blend of dignity, horror, and humor. Gorehounds will find themselves holding the short end of the stick, but believe me when I tell you there’s enough crazy shit going on here to satisfy even the most jaded of viewers who are simply looking for a good time despite the lack of the red stuff.
The DVD itself is pretty stacked in terms of supplements. Things kick off with a commentary by a very humble Reigle, who makes no bones about how lucky he is to be at this dance. From there we get about ten minutes of outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage, several deleted scenes (one of which will satisfy the old bloodlust), a photo album, and several music videos. Not too shabby!
Beneath the Surface never takes itself too seriously and manages to breathe some much needed life into a subgenre that’s barely been registering a pulse lately. It’s funny, fresh, and packing just the right amount of sick to keep us fellow outcasts more than happy! Dig it!
3 1/2 out of 5
3 1/2 out of 5
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