A 16 year old returns from camp to discover her mother has welcomed a new man into her life. This unconventional story of love and suspense takes the genre in a fresh, new direction with Braden R. Duemmler’s mystery thriller, “What Lies Below”.
I thought I knew how this film was going to end. I did not. I was way off and that makes me happy. I really enjoyed this story. My only complaint is I want more. I want a back story on John (Trey Tucker), the love interest. His character is so multidimensional that I had a hard time figuring him out, which I think works really well here. Who is he? Where does he come from? I have so many questions. At the same time, I do think that him being so mysterious adds to the unsettling feeling I had each time he was on screen. Trey played the good, bad guy so well. He’s so believable. When I first saw him on screen my initial thought was “this man is far too good looking to be this nice”.
It was strange yet refreshing to see Mina Suvari playing the roll of a mother. I grew up watching her in classic 90’s films from “American Beauty” to “American Pie”. She’s a natural. She’s a great actress at any age and I think this is a testament to her acting style as well as her talent as a performer. The character of Michelle is very relatable in many ways. One of which being her estranged relationship with her deceased father. She wanted to be loved by someone who put the needs of her sibling first. I think this is something a lot of viewers can relate to. I interpreted her need for love as her reasoning for falling for John so quickly. She’s vulnerable and unfortunately she was the perfect prey and an easy target.
Ema Horvath is an up and coming actress who showcased her talent when she portrayed 16 year old Liberty. She’s shy, introverted, and a little awkward. Her relationship with her mother appears to be somewhat strained. Perhaps this is due to her inheritance from Michelle’s father. He left her a cabin in his will which has led her mother to feel as though he loved her child more than his own daughter. The mother / daughter bond is quickly tested when John starts exhibiting strange behavior.
Overall I think “What Lies Below” is a fantastic genre piece. The ending is unique and not what I expected, especially with the tone of the film during the first two acts. The story is aware but doesn’t take itself seriously. The characters aren’t overly simplistic or unintelligent. They’re a family just like you and I. They’re a little broken, a little damaged, and this lead to what unfolds during the third act. Everything flows perfectly with no feelings of forced chemistry or interactions. I suggest watching this film if you’re a fan of suspenseful thrillers. The ending is a complete surprise up until the last shot which I think many of you will enjoy. “What Lies Below” is being released through Vertical Entertainment on Demand and Digital December 4, 2020.