What Lies Beneath

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Year Released: 2000
Rating: 0.5

Zemeckis should know better. Pauline Kael referred to stuff like this as "Boo Movies" in which the camera skulks around and the hero (or, more often than not, the heroine) tiptoes around to suspenseful music only to be scared out of their wits by something (either a false alarm or someone with an axe). I wouldn't doubt that the only reason Zemeckis even bother to sign on to do this was because of the Blair Witch phenomenon, which people gravitated towards because of its "fear factor." I did not like Blair Witch and I can't stand this, which doesn't even bother to set anything up dramatically, plunges you into countless scenes of Michelle Pfeiffer looking spooked, with the camera creeping around, only to be startled, and then have the movie cut to another scene where the same thing happens. Harrison Ford is horribly miscast as the antagonist, and his character's motivations and history are poorly explained and tough to buy. In fact, most everything is tough to buy - the heavy influence on mysticism and the supernatural feels phony, embodied in a goofy sequence in which Pfeiffer has to pretend to be some sort of hell vixen because of a talisman she has in her hand. Zemeckis could hardly care about the people or the story (the screenplay borders on horrible) - he's far too preoccupied with using computer imagery to put the camera through the floor, and with referencing Hitchcock at every turn (Rear Window comes to mind w/r/t an early subplot/pointless red herring). The whole movie is just an embarrassing, shallow mess: a trial to sit through and (I imagine) to make.