STUDIO: Genius Products
MSRP: $14.95
RATING: Unrated
RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes

The Pitch

The black oil from the The X-Files goes green for a starring role!

The Humans

Director: David Winning
Actors: Kevin Sorbo, Natalie Brown

The Nutshell

Those evil developers are at it again. This time they want to build a high-end conference center / hotel on some risky property. What’s so risky about it? The ground seems to be emitting a goo that makes anyone who touches it have hallucinations about their worst fears. But by hushing up the environmental report written by some scientist egghead, the retreat gets built. And what better way to celebrate the grand opening than host a conference on the environment!

A softer side of Sorbo

Well before too long, things start getting sticky in the most horrible ways and people begin succumbing to the goo that is now pouring through the pipes of the hotel. It’s up to event organizer Father Middleton (Sorbo) and Hotel employee Khali Spence (Brown) to track down the source of this slime and stop it before it kills everyone at the conference center.

The Lowdown

Like most movies made for the Sci-Fi Channel, Something Beneath is no classic, but this one isn’t horribly bad either. Something Beneath is a movie that knows what it is; a cheapie made to fill a timeslot. And as that kind of entertainment, at least it tries to have a little fun with it.

While Britney continued to practice those dance steps
well into her sixties, a
comeback was just not in the cards.

While I was very confused about how parts of the story were executed (more on that in a second) I must admit to enjoying this tale of eco-terror. What I liked about it, if I must admit, is that it was just so happily unsubtle. The plot clobbers you over the head with its points. The main bad guy who builds the conference center isn’t just evil, he is so evil that he needs to breathe through an oxygen mask and leer whenever he’s on screen. And when someone is going to die, you are going to know it because of the rack focus. Everything is telegraphed and nothing is unexpected, but it worked for this movie.

Jakes Discount Pap Smear Hut: Free hat with every sample!

The only thing that really caught my ire was the hallucinogenic moments that the characters go through after they accidentally stick their hands in the goo. I can understand that it is easier and cheaper to just have people tripping out to whatever scares them the most rather than spend money on big, slimy creature effects, but most of the time the jumps between the real world and the hallucination just left me wondering what was happening. Sometimes it works, but most of the time it doesn’t. But this is TV movie territory we are in and whether or not the story fits together is second fiddle to how many commercials they can cram into it without making it completely incoherent. With that information taken into account, Something Beneath rides a fine line between being mildly confusing most of the time to downright baffling in parts.

“Nothing will stop me from getting that customer comment card filled out!”

But back to what was decent. Maybe it’s the acting. Every character is either absolutely angelic in their goodness or may as well be sprouting horns to convey their vile, evil nature. Even the green slime is sentient, and (apparently) knows how and why it wants to kill people. While Sorbo and the rest of the cast do a fine job in overdoing everything about their roles, a standout in the bad guy category emerges in actor Gordon Tanner, who plays a minor role as Alvin Symes, the conniving hotel manager. Symes wants to cover up any type of incident at the hotel, including the bloody suicide of a teen celebrity, because it could hurt bookings. I love a character like that in a movie; just so mean and nasty and willing to sell their own mother down the river to get ahead. Tanner really chews it up in his role, and he shows every tooth in the process.

The effects in this movie consist of mostly the goo, which may be old anti-freeze, or cold beef broth, or…who cares! What you need to know is that this movie is an award winner. Yup, two awards in fact; a special award in directing from the Chicago International Film Festival and Best Horror / Fantasy Film from The WorldFest Houston Festival. While I am not sure I would bestow a Best horror / fantasy film award on this movie (not using my own name anyway), I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to give it the “It’s 2:00 AM and there’s nothing else on TV. so this will do fine” award.

The Package

No extras to speak of on this one, but there is a very misleading jewel case featuring a hot chick being attacked by a goo monster. Don’t look for it in the movie, because it isn’t there

4.5 out of 10