I think it’s safe to say that at some point of pretty much every review you will read for Beneath, Brit shocker The Descent will be referenced.

I know, I know, I’ve just gone and done the same, but the point I want to make is that by shunting in Neil Marshall’s epic, you are doing Beneath a disservice.

Not necessarily in terms of quality, as this outing doesn’t really stack up to the 2005 gore classic, but more in terms of theme.

Yep, both films do take place underground, but that’s virtually it – there are no beasties, no villains as such and a lot more emphasis on psychology.

Beneath trots out the ‘inspired by true events’ line to kick off, which is likely to annoy as much as excite, and then we are thrown into the world of a bunch of miners preparing to celebrate the last shift of stalwart George Marsh (Jeff Fahey).

To aid these ‘celebrations’, George’s daughter Samantha (Kelly Noonan) decides to tag along for the ride below, much to the concern of a lot of the male workers.

Everything though seems to be going OK – until there is an explosion/tunnel collapse.

Suddenly our hardy crew are trapped a LONG way from the surface, with no real way of getting out.

Naturally tempers begin to fray, and before too long the miners are (literally) at each other’s throats, thanks to the lack of oxygen stimulating some pretty gruesome hallucinations.

Will any of them survive? Who is friend and who is enemy? And is what you are seeing real or merely illusion?

Director Ben Katai really wants you to care about that, and at some points of the film you really do.

But, equally, Beneath is chock full of so many characters and rips along at such a pace that many of them miners are nothing more than cardboard cut-outs, shoved underground simply to up the body count.

Fahey is fine, as is Noonan, but very few of the other performers are offered the opportunity to strut their stuff.

There are also a fair few clichés flying around – not least the ‘something going wrong on old guy’s last day on the job’ plot device.

Technically the film is impressive – the mine footage is good, there are some impressive effects and for swathes of the film you really are kept guessing as to what exactly is going on.

But Beneath never really kicks on from being ‘enjoyable’ to ‘must-see’, so, while I am happy to give it a recommendation, it’s a pretty lukewarm one.

DVD Review: Beneath
3.5Overall Score
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About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.