Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

Beneath is one of those one those ambiguous films. It’s a story about a mine collapse disaster. Over the years there have been quite a few “mine disaster” type movies but this one I did find enjoyable. Now I’ll have some not so nice things about it below, but it’s not too bad. Not bad enough to forget writing an article about anyways.

The first third of the movie probably starts off like many movies of the type. Good times in a bar celebrating the last day of the foreman’s work life. Beloved by the community and the miner’s themselves they’ve all come to celebrate and give thanks for what the mining company has done for the community as well as the miners’ themselves. Also appearing at the bar this night is the foreman’s daughter. She’s out of college with a new job as an ecologist so a discrepancy creeps in between dad and daughter who are at extreme opposite ends of the spectrum workwise. One works in the coal mine with all the subtext that has to offer and the other has decided to devote life to ecology and by extension I’m going to guess clean air energy technology. It’s not directly said but easy to infer.

As the night drags on some of the miners are of course aware of the daughters ideas and the hard working miners of course give her some shit about sitting in offices writing about her new found love for all things ecological when of course one of the primary sources of today’s power which lights her comfortable offices can still be attributed to the coal the coal miners who bust their asses daily to put bread on the table for their families.

So as the night winds down she says she’ll spend her father’s last day in the coal mine with him to get some first hand experience of what her father has worked all his life for. It’s something that will add a little genuineness to her ecological writings and who knows, maybe give her the experience to perk up her writings with a little hands on work. Who knows, maybe this becomes a catalyst to bring a family closer together.

It doesn’t.

Now what follows becomes a psychological tale. During excavation a void is discovered by the “continuous miner” and shortly after that, all hell breaks loose with a cave in. Some miners perish, some are seriously hurt but the main group of miners are intact and they setup the contingencies for such disasters and busy themselves with locating miners that have yet to be accounted for.

In a brilliant move by the screenwriter(s) we now get a disaster story which occurred almost 100 years earlier which took the lives of 19 miners told by the father after the mine they’re in collapses.

This is where the spookiness sets in. It’s difficult to tell if the miners are experiencing something supernatural or if the things they are seeing might be brought on by “bad air” and the terrible predicament they find themselves in. Maybe the miners have turned on each other or maybe those distant screams are the wailings of the 19 miners who died some 100 odd years before now returned as disembodied, or in this cased, bodied, ghosts hell bent on revenge. We get this information at about the halfway point in the movie.

Now as I usually write no spoiler type reviews I think that’s as far as I will go with details of the movie. The final third of the movie carries on and we as the viewer also cannot tell what is actually going on, and this is the good part of the movie. What follows are scares and psychological twists presented to us as the viewer as we try to figure out what’s actually going on. This part of the movie is par for the course and if you’ve seen other mine horror’s, I don’t think you’ll find anything new here. This was the bad part I was speaking about above.

Even the conclusion gets a little tropey and brings to mind a whiff of the ending of Descent, which is an actually good caving movie, though of course not mine specific. Because I’m writing an article about Beneath it was a movie that either gave me a little scare or I didn’t mind watching it. It’s not a great movie but you may enjoy it more if you’re into this type of setup. Some of the scares were good and the ambiguity in the somewhat tropey ending might even be satisfying if you’ve not seen it before.

Beneath was released in 2013 and features Brent Briscoe, Kurt Caceres, Eric Estebani, and Kelly Noonan. Directed by Ben Ketai and written by Patrick J. Doody and Chris Valenziano. Here’s the iMDB blurb:

Samantha “Sam” Marsh is in a bar during her father’s retirement party. After growing up in a small town coal mining community, she’s decided to study environmental law instead of following in her father’s footsteps. Her father has been struck with an illness related to his many years of mining coal and he can no longer work without risking his life. When the miners in the bar declare that Sam’s whole life is painting her nails and checking Facebook, and that she could never be a coal miner, Sam decides to prove them wrong and go down below with them. Unfortunately while down beneath the ground, the mine shaft collapses and she, her father and the other miners are trapped below, some killed instantly and others injured. Those left alive start to slowly go crazy as the oxygen runs out, and they worry that they’ll suffer the same fate as the urban legendary 19, nineteen miners buried alive and left for dead in the 1920’s.

iMDB Storyline

So if you’re into it, check it out. If not, I don’t think you’ll miss anything but I sure do appreciate you taking the time to read this article!

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By editor

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