‘His game. His rules. Their souls.’
Beneath is a 2018 American horror feature film about a group of cavern tour guides that decide to investigate an alleged cult murder that took place in 1966. The movie is also known as Beneath: A Cave Horror
Written, photographed, edited and directed by JJ Perez, the movie stars Enzo Monfre, Brooke Mckinney, Neal Sansing and Michael Morris.
When a group of Innerspace Cavern tour guides hear an old tale of a sacrificial cult performing rituals in the cave on Halloween in 1966, they sneak down into the restricted areas to find out more.
Sceptical about the legend, they end up summoning a demonic presence that refuses to let them leave…
Wisely dropping its singular and uninspiring Beneath title (there are, after all, several movies with this moniker already), the newly-christened Beneath: A Cave Horror is a welcome low-budget entry into the shot-in-caverns sub-genre.
Although a few of the performances are somewhat amateurish, there is undoubtedly a verve here that makes up for this and in a way also validates the almost documentary feel of early scenes. Harsher critics may whine but anyone with a cinematic soul will cut these guys some slack.
On a technical level, the genuine cavern locations in Texas are lit in a way that we can really appreciate the growing paranoia and tension and focus on the horrific events (unlike many found-footage films that utilise real locations but leave the audience staring into pitch-black nothingness, ultimately confused and bored). The overall soundscape is also eerie and effective despite a few unnecessarily prominent songs in early scenes.
Notwithstanding the trite reasons for the group to investigate the legend and summon up the prerequisite ‘Midnight Man’ aka Arkyn – after all, why else would there be a movie? – Beneath builds nicely to a nihilistic ending. JJ Perez should be applauded for achieving what many filmmakers cannot do on what seems like an almost zero budget. The demon may seem like a guy in an alien costume but this is still a creepy cavern that’s worth a visit to at least appreciate the effort put into its production.
Adrian J Smith, MOVIES and MANIA
“What Beneath lacks in polish, it makes up for in heart, but that lack of polish does occasionally impact the overall film. A symptom of working with a cast of non-actors is that you lose some depth and nuance that comes with an expert craft. That being said there were standout performances scattered throughout the film that were able to shine especially bright.” Nightmarish Conjurings
“Perez drags us into the depths of a natural cave, between openings and bottlenecks, in a labyrinth with a vague and frightening shape of human bowels. Thus, this journey within the earth simultaneously becomes a descent into the depths of man. The film sheds light on the darkest human instincts with few candle flames, which dominate the fascinating cinematography.” Prisma
“Why, why, why are we doing this?”
Cast and characters:
Enzo Monfre … Daniel
Brooke Mckinney … April
Neal Sansing … Kevin
Michael Morris … Nathan
Meghan Forbes … Sarah
Jesse Yandow … Derek / Arkyn
Bradford Riley … Jerry
John Parnell … Cult Leader
Cherie Richards … Cult Woman
Adrian Martinez … Young Bill
Dylan Long … Sacrifice
Taunya Vessels … Ms Wendy
Tony Bowerman … Bill
Brandie Clark … 911 Operator
Cara Cranor … Creepy Girl (voice)
Inner Space Cavern, Georgetown, Texas