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What Lies Beneath

4.2 out of 5 stars 704 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

The Spencers are a happily married couple until the past comes back to haunt them. A former colleague of Norman Spencer's continues to appear to Claire, his wife. Believing in the supernatural, she investigates and the truth is unbelievable.

Special Features

  • First Look Behind-the-Scenes Featurette

Product Details

  • Actors: Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer, Katharine Towne, Miranda Otto, James Remar
  • Directors: Robert Zemeckis
  • Writers: Clark Gregg, Sarah Kernochan
  • Producers: Robert Zemeckis, Cherylanne Martin, Jack Rapke, Joan Bradshaw, Mark Johnson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Special Edition, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG-13
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Dreamworks Video
  • DVD Release Date: January 30, 2001
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (704 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003CXI7
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,201 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "What Lies Beneath" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Robert Zemeckis makes his homage to Hitchcock in What Lies Beneath, starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer.

The Spencer's -Claire and Norman- are a supposedly happy and successful marriage. He is a prominent scientist, she's an ex musician that just left her only daughter at college. Free time takes Mrs. Spencer to spy on her neighbors, and from that activity she believes that a crime has been perpetrated next door. Insecure and nervous, Claire's paranoia grows as a series of paranormal events take place in her perfect home: doors open and close, electrical equipment turn on automatically, spectral visions in the bathtub. Are all these things related? That's one of the many secrets the movie hides.

A lonely home, secrets trying to be revealed, darkness, ghosts and the impending sensation that we are not sure what our eyes are seeing, What Lies Beneath has enough elements to hook you up for a scary time. Zemeckis takes advantage from every trick, cliche and ideas to spice the story, until he leaves us with a terrible deja vu sensation. The result is a supernatural thriller cleverly built, part psychological, part ghost story.

And one could very well wonder, when Michelle Pfeiffer sees a spectral reflex on the water, if the ghost we are seeing is indeed Mr Hitchcock.

As soon as the credits vanish, we take a walk from moments of Rear Window, Suspicion, Vertigo and even Psycho. The cinematic references overwhelm us, from the lead man's name, the disturbing music score, the movie's rhythm, the creepy house alone on a hill. Hitch's fans will enjoy tremendously this tribute

Pfeiffer and Ford are two stars talented and very charismatic, whose performances give more depth to the story.
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Format: DVD
In a time in which good horror/suspense movies are few and far between, Robert Zemeckis brings us a wonderfully and surprisingly taut and well-balanced thriller filmed in the grand tradition of the great Alfred Hitchcock. Finally, a horror movie that doesn't rely on fake blood and cheesy special effects to wow the crowd, or attempt to scare the feeble minded. The movie is centered around a couple, recently moved, who has discovered a supernatural presence in their new dwelling. The wife, Claire (played beautifully by Michelle Pfeiffer, in one of the best female performances of the year) believes it to be the ghost of the neighbor she suspects has been murdered. The husband, Norman (played well by Harrison Ford) of course, thinks she is crazy. The movie twists and turns around this basic central plot, leading to an ending that, although not terrible, I'm still not quite buying. The greatness of the movie comes not from the plot, but from the style in which the film was created. Some of the devices are a bit overused (a door opens mysteriously about three times too many), but not too much as to distract the viewer. There are some great scenes that, although clichéd, (there's a wonderful scene that borrows heavily from Rear Window) work beautifully and really instill a sense of apprehension in the viewer. Also, Zemeckis utilizes silence to build suspense where a lesser director might use the old disonant-music-crescendos-into-a-big-loud-scare tactic that we see all too often in horror movies. Somewhere along the way, the line between horror movies and slasher films has blurred. It seems now that if you want to scare people, all you need is some fake blood and a knife. This movie proves that something can still be scary without dumbing it down.
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Format: DVD
What Lies Beneath
Score: 78/100
Beware of the trailer for What Lies Beneath! If you want to see the film and not know what's going to happen, you must stay away from all adverts of this classy, hip thriller. I, fortunately, knew nothing about the movie when I went to see it, so I was lucky. But, if you see the trailer, you'll be able to guess the end twist within the first second. However, once you keep yourself darned away from that advertisement, your on the right track, and are sure to like this chilling and thought-provoking film.
Norman Spencer (Harrison Ford), a university research scientist, is growing more and more concerned about his wife, Claire (Michelle Pfeiffer), a retired concert cellist who a year ago was involved in a serious auto accident, and who has just sent off her daughter Caitlin (Norman's stepdaughter) to college. Now, Claire reports hearing voices and witnessing eerie occurrences in and around their lakeside Vermont home, including seeing the face of a young woman reflected in water. An increasingly frightened Claire thinks the phenomena have something to do with the couple living next door, especially since the wife has disappeared without apparent explanation. At her husband's urging, Claire starts to see a therapist; she tells him she thinks the house is being haunted by a ghost. His advice? Try to make contact. Enlisting the help of her best friend, Jody (Diana Scarwid), and a ouija board, Claire seeks to find out the truth of What Lies Beneath.
At the very, very end the film kinds of drains away and leaves us with something a little more lifeless than the first hour and a half, but, flaws aside, What Lies Beneath is an excellent film. However, to call it a film or a movie is underestimating this thriller - it's more of an experience.
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