Upon first glance, the new horror/comedy "Beneath" appears to be nothing more than a watered-down "Jaws" knockoff. Dig deeper and you'll find that Shout Factory's newest release is an intelligent, well-crafted thriller that takes its cues from Hitchcock's classic "Lifeboat" film. "Beneath" drops on Blu-ray with a slew of bonus material and a handsome high-definition transfer.
Black Lake is the setting of Larry Fessenden's bloody carnage of a film, a setting where urban legend purports that a huge man-eating fish lurks deep in the fresh waters. A group of young, newly graduated high school students decide to celebrate by boating on Black Lake and the "Friday the 13th" elements are all there: the lake is secluded, the cast is nubile, oh and yes, there is no cell phone service.
Soon the kids become fish fodder for an oversized rubbery fish and without help in sight or a set of rows to get back to shore, the film becomes a thought-provoking debate on who should survive and who shouldn't.
An overabundance of special features complement the "Beneath" Blu-ray nicely, even if some of them are a bit off-the-wall. A prime example is the feature entitled "What the Zeke?" where the character of Zeke interviews fellow high school students in various forms of embarrassing moments...it has no ties to the film at all. "Fessenden on Jaws" falls into this trap too, though this feature entertains and shows director Fessenden's original take on "Jaws" that he made as a very young man.
Faring much better are the features "A Look Behind Beneath: Making the Fish Movie", an audio commentary by Fessenden and sound design man Graham Reznick, and "What's in Black Lake?" a spoof of the film's notorious location.