Dr. Norman Spencer (Harrison Ford) becomes worried about his wife Claire (Michelle Pfeiffer) when she claims to have seen a young woman's ghost in their new lakeside home. He believes she is hallucinating, but Claire insists on the validity of her experience and tries to find out who the ghostly young woman is. So with the help of her best friend Jody (Diana Scarwid), Claire obtains a ouiji board and makes an attempt to contact the dead.
What would Hitchcock have done if he had had modern digital effects? The answer is almost certainly: something very like What Lies Beneath
, Robert Zemeckis' technically accomplished supernatural thriller that pays open homage to Suspicion
, Rear Window
, to name but three. Michelle Pfeiffer delivers one of the finest, most nuanced performances of her career as a woman in an ideal relationship whose perfect life begins to unravel with terrifying consequences. Harrison Ford plays sympathetically against type as her husband who may or may not be telling her the truth. Although made in the middle of his filming Cast Away
, while the director waited for Tom Hanks to shed some pounds, this is no quickie throwaway picture. Zemeckis loads this character-driven story with genuinely scary suspense, using subtle camera moves, mirrored reflections and red-herrings in a classic Hitchcockian manner--the difference here is that he has access to the most up-to-date digital effects and employs them with characteristic imagination, creating seemingly impossible camera angles that only enhance the tension. The Production Design is equally carefully considered, as even the idyllic household setting with its pristine bathroom is gradually transformed into an object of terror. Composer Alan Silvestri's score winds up the drama several notches further with an appropriate Bernard Herrmann pastiche.
On the DVD: The principal attraction of this disc is the pin-sharp anamorphic picture and 5.1 soundtrack--superb picture and sound quality contribute greatly to the enjoyment here, since Zemeckis is one of the few contemporary directors who remains acutely sensitive to the composition of each and every scene. The brief featurette is a little misleadingly titled, as it's essentially a profile of Zemeckis' career with a few comments about this film thrown in for good measure. The rather dry and uninvolving commentary is by Zemeckis with producers Steve Starkey and Jack Rapke. --Mark Walker
--This text refers to an alternate