UNDER THE BED
My good man Steven C. Miller, (director of “The Aggression Scale” and the fantastic “Silent Night” reboot), returns with his latest full length feature “Under The Bed”. UTB is a horror film about two brothers, Neal and Paulie Hausman (Jonny Weston and Gattlin Griffith), who team up to battle a terrifying creature that lives under their beds. The film also stars Peter Holden and Musetta Vander. The premise of this little indie horror flick is really cool and kind of takes me back to being a kid. It really has that 80’s Spielberg vibe with a more horror orientated basis.
It’s a very well acted film. The dynamic of the brothers and the ways in which they clash with their father (played by Holden) was very realistically portrayed. The majority of the film is carried by Jonny and Gattlin. The two have a little bit of acting experience but haven’t done anything like carry a film which was a risk. In the end it paid off because both of their performances were great, some good realistic dialogue in Eric Stolze’s writing would have helped them sell it. The films strongest aspect is the amazing score and clever use of effective sounds. It’s very tense in certain scenes throughout the film. And as the events start to escalate the score gets more hectic. I can remember 2 or 3 jump scares in particular that were fantastic. To accompany the sound of the film there is a great aesthetic look. Steven’s camera work has always been really solid. Independent filmmakers often get the rudimentary basics wrong and everything else falls apart. The technical aspect is half the battle. The use of smoke and fluorescent light when the creature threatens the boys was also very cool.
I thought the opening 5 or 10 minutes was a little slow, a few scenes lingered somewhat. Although I think it was more the confusing nature of why Neal was returning home and what had actually happened in the past, Why was he sent away? etc. Of course the details are revealed later in the film but some details at the start would have helped you get into it. The film has a fairly slow build up and not a lot of action until the last act of the film. I have read that people said the change in tone in the last act is really drastic and the film doesn’t know what it wants to be, I disagree. I think Steven has used the love of 80’s and 90’s creature feature films and crossed it with his love for intense and gore based horror. I think this knows exactly what it is. There were a few anti-climactic scenes here and there, just when things would build up and get interesting the camera would cut to a new scene, that was a little weak.
The last act of the film is the best. When the creature finally shows itself and the chase sequences begin, its great fun. The special effects are great. A couple of really well done kill scenes. One that really stands out as being mind-blowing (so to speak), I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen it. The creature looks pretty good, shame we didn’t see a bit more of it, but the saying that less is more probably applies here. The only disappointing thing about the last act was the build up with the chainsaw. Sadly it never amounted to anything, I was hoping to see a brutal decapitation or something effective with the chainsaw. “Under The Bed” achieves its suspenseful old school 80’s vibe. It has some really good acting and some great practical gore effects. Obviously the parents can’t see the creature and just think their sons are going crazy. Things in the story aren’t really explained all that well. However, with a good fun film like this every detail doesn’t have to surface for you to enjoy it.
Is it as good as Steven’s other films, Silent Night or The Aggression Scale? It’s hard to say because they are 3 different genre films. But I can tell you, all of Steven’s films are a blast, so check it out!
My rating for “Under The Bed” is 6/10