It’s not uncommon to see forgettable or wholly mediocre films find a massive audience once they hit a major streaming platform, and a rather dull horror thriller, What Lies Below, is the latest to manage this feat on Netflix.
The story finds a teenage girl return from summer camp to discover that not only does her mother have a new boyfriend, but she intends to marry him despite having known him for just a matter of months. She decides there’s something not quite right about him, partly because he seems too perfect, and when she witnesses his strange behavior at night, she begins doubting that what she knows is real.
All in all, it’s a fairly standard setup of quasi-supernatural melodrama, with for once it being a hunky guy getting objectified as a paragon of ethereal beauty rather than some nubile young woman, but there just isn’t enough narrative scope to fill out even such a lean runtime. There’s not much more to the story that what was shown in the trailer, and nothing that happens is interesting enough to justify the time spent watching those fragmentary moments expanded and joined up
The aquatic dangers and hints of an undefined and quite literally otherworldly power give certain events something of a Lovecraftian feel, but as anyone who’s seen almost any film based on his works can attest, such invocation rarely works out well.
The notion of a mysterious sexy stranger worming their way into the life of a fractured family is a setup that’s been the basis for great stories, and will continue to be so in the future, but What Lies Below is unfortunately not worth your time. Even if millions of Netflix users seem to say otherwise.