What Lies Below: Creepy and Not in a Good Way – Netflix Review

A teenage girl meets her mom’s new boyfriend and he’s not right.

SUMMARY

Liberty “Libby” Wells (Ema Horvath) returns home from Summer camp and learns that her mom, Michelle (Mena Suvari), has gotten a new boyfriend. The new guy, a biologist focused on marine life named John (Trey Tucker), seems to be nice at first, as well as extremely ripped. However, as Libby and John spend more time together, she slowly starts to notice that he is extremely unusual. Aside from his supposed “sleepwalking,” he also spends a lot of time in his secret lab and appears to be creepily stalking Libby. Also, the sex that he and Michelle have appear to be having negative effects on her… as well as featuring sounds that are extremely loud and strange, even for sex noises. What is John’s secret?

It’s not P90x, for the record.

END SUMMARY 

Here’s the non-spoiler review of this film: It’s creepy. Not in a “oh, this guy has something wrong with him and it might be a sign of evil” way, but in a “he sniffs clothes that get a teenage girl’s period blood on them” kind of way. Yes, that’s an actual thing that happens fairly early in the movie and it’s actually MORE unpleasant in context. The fact that Libby and John, who, again, is loudly having sex with her mother every night, keep seeming to be almost flirting has an (I assume intentional) pedophilic vibe that does not necessarily help the actual horror parts of the film. It doesn’t help that Libby is clearly so young she doesn’t have a learner’s permit and just took her PSATs so I think she’s either 15 or just turned 16. If that kind of thing doesn’t bother you, then I imagine the movie will be more effective as a horror movie on you, but it was something I could not get over while watching.

Horrifying, but not the horror I wanted.

Here’s the spoiler version: The final twist of this movie is pretty damned disturbing. It turns out that John is, in fact, an inhuman (possibly alien) amphibious creature (not really a merman). Also, there are a bunch of him and I think they’re each designed to be a different kind of “attractive.” His goal appears to be to impregnate human women in order to propagate his species which is likely to survive the new world created by global warming destroying natural habitats. He inseminates Michelle, who gives birth to a bunch of mutants, then, just as Michelle and Libby seem to be getting away, he catches up to them and captures them. Libby awakens in an underwater tank and appears to now be able to breathe underwater. The final shot shows that she is one of many women in tanks and she appears to smile before the camera cuts to black. I think it’s supposed to indicate she’s happy she’s not drowning, but maybe she’s looking forward to a life of birthing fish mutants for John. 

He’s completely dry like 2 minutes later. Fishman powers don’t explain that.

Seriously, this movie is not great. I get that Trey Tucker is hot and shirtless, but all of the sexuality in this film is deeply uncomfortable. The horror aspects aren’t particularly scary and the “twist” ending is foreshadowed so hard that they could have done a Romeo and Juliet-style Prologue and it wouldn’t have changed the level of surprise. The only thing that catches you off guard is that the bad guy wins, and that’s not super pleasant.

Spaceship? Underwater prison? I dunno.

Overall, I would say skip it, or stop it like 20 minutes in so that you get all of the ripped guy and Mina Suvari talking dirty but without the creepy kid obsession.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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