Beneath the Darkness

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beneath the darkness

Dennis Quaid should’ve buried the script when his agent sent it.

I thought it was clever that the teen comedy Easy A had the kids in class reading The Scarlett Letter – as a real life version of that was happening to the characters. For a short time, this movie seemed to be loosely based on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Telltale Heart. The class was reading that, and there were a few similarities. It’s a shame the movie couldn’t live up to that and all the other scary things we were reminded of watching this. We get Dennis Quaid going all Norman Bates. We think of other movies where characters are buried alive, yet when it’s done here we don’t have the panic or scares those other films brought to the table.

About the only thing I found interesting was Quaid constantly smoking one of those electric cigarettes (it was a great visual), and the premise that he’s a mortician. That gives him lots of places to bury bodies, or digging late at night without anybody asking questions. Especially since he was the former star quarterback of Smithville, Texas (is it written in all Quaid’s contracts that football must be used in the storyline?)

The opening scene is a bit creepy, as Quaid takes a John Denver lookalike at gunpoint and buries him alive. The movie jumps to a few years later and we find out his wife also died around that time.

The teens in town, who seem to have nothing to say (most of the script is filled with expository dialogue), think they see ghosts around Quaid’s house. Instead, it ends up being more like a Tom Petty video (Last Dance with Mary Jane).

None of the teen characters are interesting. The cute girl is dating the obnoxious jock, even though she enjoys the fact that her classmate appreciates Shakespeare as much as her. He’s also not the same since his sister died.

Not only are we not interested in anything going on, we don’t ever have any scares. As bad as The Devil Inside was, at least you jump out of your seat a few times. There were times watching this I thought it was a spoof of the genre.

The few attempts at humor don’t work (one line I recall is about how you’re allowed to shoot burglars in Texas). And what would’ve worked well, was having Quaids character written the way Colin Farrell was in Fright Night. Make him charming, and give him a few funny lines.

When Jack Nicholson had creepy smiles and facial expressions in The Shining, it worked. When Quaid does it, we wonder instead why he didn’t fire his agent. And I’m wondering if anybody else had problems with all the lookalikes in this movie. His dead wife resembled his ex – Meg Ryan. The town sheriff talked and looked just like Chris Cooper.

Often times, you’re wondering various things about what motivates the characters to do the things they do. One kid witnesses Quaid killing somebody and police discount this. Maybe I’ve seen too many episodes of Forensic Files, but surely an autopsy would prove him right.

At least my friend and I enjoyed making each other laugh as we made fun of what we were watching. My best line was when a girl was grounded and snuck out with a guy to go explore Quaids digs – he dug a grave for her. As she was buried in there with a flashlight, fighting for her life, I said “Well, she was grounded.”

The late Bruce Wilkinson wrote this script. It should’ve been buried with him.

The song theme song Love Sucks by Bret Michaels sucks, but even with some good obscure songs from Gregg Allman and Edgar Winter (and a few Dennis Quaid tunes), this movie gets 0 stars out of 5.

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