This Day in Horror

01 February 2014

Under the Bed 2012 - REVIEW

Boogeyman tales vary by culture but traditionally they are imaginary creatures created by adults to frighten children into submission. There isn't any specific set of rules when it comes to the Boogeyman. He can be something that lurks around the woods, hides in closets or dwells under the bed. His look comes in various forms as does his reasons for stalking children. I remember getting out of bed when I was little to turn the light off or go to the bathroom then making a mad dash and a frantic leap onto my bed because I was afraid of what MIGHT be hiding under there.

Neal (Jonny Weston) returns home two years after the traumatic event of losing his mother in a house fire. Even after two years away, he can't seem to shake his fear of the creature he thinks hides beneath his bed. Not only that but it seems his younger brother, Paulie (Gattlin Griffith), has been experiencing the same goings on since his brother left. Discovering, so far, that the creatures only weakness is light, they must work together to try and figure out how to defeat him and save themselves and their family.

Oh how I would love to give you a better synopsis for this film but that's about all the substance there is to it. By the end, the audience is left with more questions than answers. What is this monster? Where did it come from? Why is it stalking these particular two boys? What really happened to their mother? Why was Neal sent away? How does he move from one location to another but not follow Neal to the house he spent the prior two years in? Why is their house always so dark? And WHY is their Dad SUCH an asshole? Oh my God, my head hurts. There are so many missing pieces to the puzzle that is 'Under the Bed'. What started out as a phenomenal kid type horror movie (in the vein of Goosebumps) turned into a mishmash of… I don't even know what. The audience will spend the first two acts of the film without ever seeing the monster except for an arm here and there. The final act is where the action kicks in and where the film will likely lose most people.

The thing about a horror film is that generally there is a set of rules that are established early on. A great film will stick to those rules throughout. A good film will break one here or there. A lackluster film will break just about every rule it sets up for itself. And that's where director Steven C. Miller goes wrong... by breaking the very rules that he set up for his heroes and villains creating a film that even great acting can't save. There isn't a drop of gore in the first 3/4 of the film but the last ten to fifteen minutes turns into a gore fest of epic proportions. There are some brilliant creature and special effects done but by then it's too late to recover from the massive plot holes and the often inaudible dialogue. If you have a hankering for really good low key horror, check out some Goosebumps on Netflix or something. Anything to save yourself from what's under the bed.


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