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4.5 out of 5 stars103
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 16 September 2001
Thank God! Finally a really scary film with not a hint of a slasher movie about it. I watched this in the cinema last year when I shared a house with 5 other girls - not one of us slept alone that night. This is a must-see, late at night but not alone. Without giving any of the story away, let me just say this - you'll never look at your bath the same way again...
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VINE VOICEon 4 April 2004
I have watched this movie several times now and yet it never bores me, even though I know exactly what is going to happen. I still jump too which I find completely amusing. This is also one of the few films out there that has managed to keep my hubby awake AND interested at the same time!!!
It tells the story of Claire, (Pfeiffer), and Norman Spencer, (Ford), who live a very comfortable life in their beautiful country house. They see their only daughter off to college at the start of the film and then everything goes pear-shaped.
Norman is a Professor of science and is working very hard on a project at the university. This means that Claire, who is feeling quite emotional at the sudden loss of her daughter, is left alone quite a bit. She begins to see and hear things that she can't quite believe are real. For instance, she is scooping the dog's ball from the lake and sees something just below the surface of the water. The front door seems to know just when she's going to open it and does it for her, and then of course there is the bath that won't quit running itself!!!
Norman begins to think that all this is some kind of delayed trauma from the daughter's departure and also from a car accident that Claire had a year ago. But Claire sees things about the neighbours behaviour that convince her that the husband has killed his wife.
All in all this film has you on the very edge of your seat from start to finish. There is a great rapport between the two leads and a few twists and turns that keep you guessing right up to the end. This is exactly what a thriller should be made of and I for one will never tire of it.
This is great stuff so do yourself a favour and buy it!!!
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on 24 January 2002
This was one film I thought I could watch at night but had to turn off straight away as I was so scared. I finally watched it during the day and I still almost jumped out of my skin! Brilliant acting, brilliant camera angles and brilliant story. A bit predicatable at the end but the shocks make you forgive all its sins... Just as I thought it was all over at the end of the film, the music started and drove me out of the room again. I dare everyone to watch this on their own. Truly one of a kind.
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on 10 August 2005
Claire(Michelle Pfeiffer) is married to Dr Norman Spencer (Harrison Ford).They seem to have a perfect life in a perfect house in a perfect location overlooking a beautiful lake.Claire's daughter leaves home for college and Claire feels abit alone and misses her.Strange things start to happen around the house and doors open themselves and she feels something or someone is there.Her strange new neighbours also add mystery to Claires state of mind when the wife goes missing.But things are not what she thinks.Her husband has a highly succesful career and is always working.Claire tells him she is hearing and seeing strange things and he tells her she is basically going crazy.But she is not.She then goes down a dangerous road to discovering what is going on and why.
This film was filmed and directed really well and it worked.I did not know what was going to happen and the story was not predictable in the least.It has a sexy and kind of floaty feel about it and it is very easy watching.When the scary bits come you are in no way expecting most of them.Michelle was great as the confused wife and Ford was ok but Michelle topped his performance.I have watched this dvd about 4 times now as it never gets boring.
The dvd has a good selection of special features including Audio commentary and the making of the perfect thriller,trailer.Sound is in 5.1 surround and picture and sound and soundtrack are spot on.
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on 20 October 2008
The `woman in peril' motif has been a staple of film entertainment since forever and What Lies Beneath is a clear addition to the genre. What separates it from many of its counterparts, however, is the sheer quality of both the story and the picture.

Michelle Pfeiffer plays Claire Spencer, a discontented Vermont housewife who begins to feel haunted in her lakeside home and after a few spooky encounters comes to fear that her apparently sinister neighbour may have murdered his wife. The more seriously Claire begins to take her concerns the more anxious her husband, a geneticist on the brink of great acclaim (played with the usual laconic charm by Harrison Ford) becomes for her sanity, until eventually the rift between the two exposes a far more alarming reason for the `young, blond presence' in their house.

While not as darkly disturbing as similar ghost story The Gift, What Lies Beneath is as much a study of what underpins a relationship, and how quickly this can be betrayed and unbalanced, as a goosebump-inducing vision of what could be lurking at the bottom of the lake. The performances are faultless, the lakeside setting is used to perfection and the occasional use of gentle humour makes the story and characters even more likeable. If gory horror is not your thing then this spooky treat is perfect for Halloween shivers.
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on 2 January 2002
Wow!! Fantastic, scary, thrilling film which keeps you in suspense right up until the very end. I watched this film at a friends house when we had a sleepover, and we screamed - a lot!! I found it quite disturbing going into the bathroom afterwards!! Not for the faint hearted, What Lies Beneath combines normal life with the supernatural and really begins to question your own sanity!! Very convincing roles by Michelle and Harrison, you can imagine how thrilled I was when I found this film in my christmas stocking this year!!
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on 28 December 2001
I have watched this at least 6 times and all of them, i watched at night with my friends. This is a thoroughly freaky film and I thought Michelle Pfieffers performance was fab. this is guaranteed to scare your socks off and leaves you wary of your bathroom!
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on 27 August 2001
I think this film is one of the best scary films I have ever seen, all the new horror films try to make them into a comedy as well which takes the edge of it! I'd say the first half is a little slow and your wondering when is it going to get good but the second half makes up for it with jump after jump this has been the only film where I can say I was really scared watching it I nearly screamed at one point even though some of my friends did! You are wondering what's gonna happen next and with a major twist near the end. It has a suprising ending witch tops the film off as the best! After the film you could tell everyone had enjoyed the film in the cinema! I really did enjoy this film very much and highly recommend it!
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Claire and Norman Spencer's marriage starts to fall apart when she believes there is a ghost in the house. Things gather apace when Claire is convinced that the spirit is trying to tell her something. Something that could be too close to home for comfort.

Robert Zemeckis does Hitchcock? Well yes, the influence is obvious, unashamedly so. But the trouble with that, is having the maestro as a benchmark renders all other modern day attempts as folly. However, casting aside that gargantuan issue, What Lies Beneath is an effective creeper come thriller that boasts star credentials.

Directed by Zemeckis, formed from an idea by Steven Spielberg {from the story by Sarah Kernochan} and starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer as the fragmenting Spencer's. That's a pretty tidy bunch from which to launch your movie. What follows is a mixture of genuine unease and mystery, red herrings and standard boo jump moments, all of which almost gets lost on a saggy middle section as Zemeckis plays Hitchcock one too many times and loses sight of the supernatural heart of the piece. Not helped by Clark Gregg's meandering script I might add. None the less, the picture gets pulled around for the finale as the spooky combines with thriller to produce some quality edge of the seat stuff. But it's only then that you totally realise that the makers here have tried to cram too much in to one film. In eagerness to manipulate the audience for the fine ending {tho you probably will have it worked out at the half way point} the film just ends up as being confused as to what it wanted to be.

Pfeiffer is excellent and looks stunning and Ford gives it gusto when the script allows. Support comes from Diana Scarwid, Joe Morton, Miranda Otto and James Remar. The house is suitably eerie with its waterside setting and Alan Silvestri's score is perfectly in tune with the creepy elements of the piece. It's a fine enough film in its own right, regardless of the Hitchcockian homages. It's just that it should have been a far better horror picture than it turned out to be. 7/10
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on 30 November 2008
"Midnight Lace" was a little known Doris Day thriller where an American woman living in London was menaced by a threatening voice which came out of the London fog. Her greatest difficulty was getting people to believe that the threats were not something she had imagined.

In that sense, "What lies beneath" is very similar. It is clear that housewife Claire Spencer, Michelle Pfeiffer, is struggling to cope with her life. Still coming to terms with her only daughter leaving home, Claire had given up her own career to marry Dr Norman Spencer, Harrison Ford, and now found herself playing distinctly second fiddle to his.

Rattling about in a house far too large for her, and with only herself to think about, Claire becomes increasingly paranoid as mysterious things start to occur. The front door refuses to stay shut, the bath seems to run itself, and the family dog seems terrified of something and briefly disappears.

Furthermore, Claire becomes aware that her neighbour Mary is terrified of her husband. When Mary too disappears, Claire is convinced the husband has murdered her. Aware too that her own house is reputed to be haunted, Claire becomes equally convinced that the image of the young girl she has started to see is Mary's ghost.

Things come to a head when Claire publicly accuses Mary's husband of murdering her, and of course at that moment Mary reappears safe and sound!

Hoist by her own petard, Claire is forced to quickly backtrack. She already relies very heavily on the support of her psychiatrist and is running out of people who don't believe she is imagining it all.

She begins to focus her attention on Madison Elizabeth Frank, a young girl who disappeared a year earlier. This girl becomes the new ghost in Claire's mind. The more she finds out about this girl the more the trail leads back to husband Norman, who eventually admits she was his mistress.

This revelation effectively kills their marriage as Claire just cannot let the matter rest in her head.

If you are at all familiar with Midnight Lace it won't be too difficult to see where the film ultimately leads. I made a rough guess about this about an hour into the film and it turned out to be pretty accurate.

I had to smile when I read in an earlier review about the 5 girls who refused to sleep alone after watching this film. I watched this with my mother and the hardest job I had was keeping her awake!
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