Beneath Still Waters
Film: Beneath Still Waters
Director: Brian Yuzna
Writer: Mike Hostench
Starring: Michael McKell, Raquel Meroño and Charlotte Salt
This film begins in 1965 in a small town in Spain. A dam is to be erected soon so the valley will flood as well as the town that is in it. Two boys climb the fence to play there, even though the signs forbid entry. They see a building with a light in it so they check it out. They find that there are people that are chained inside, but still alive and trying to get free. One of them commands one of the boys to untie his hands. When he does, the man attacks him. This man is the one from a painting in the previous room, played by Patrick Gordon. He is the leader of this cult and into some kind of devil worship.
The film then shifts 40 years into the future to present day. We see a young woman at a grave site; she is played by Charlotte Salt. The grave is for her grandfather, who we then see behind Salt and played by Antonio Portillo. As he approaches he changes and Salt screams.
She then comes out of her daydream and she is on the beach with her friend, played by Pilar Soto. Salt is now uneasy and Soto suggests they go for a swim. They are scared by a guy, who is played by Damià Plensa. Something grabs Soto’s leg and Salt helps her out of the water. Plensa then pretends he is attacked, but then something really happens to him. He disappears.
We then meet a reporter, played by Raquel Meroño. There is going to be a festival for the 40th anniversary of the dam. While she is doing her work, Michael McKell arrives. We learn that he is photo journalist. He is doing a report on the city that is under the water. He gets his scuba gear on and goes into the water. Meroño gets a distressed phone call and goes to check it out.
McKell finds the town and sees that mysterious light is still going. He goes into the building, finds the painting of Gordon and then when he goes to leave, he finds the dam wall. He finds a crack in it and knows that it could break any second. Something attacks him and a current pulls him away.
We then learn that Meroño is Salt’s mother. The mayor, played by Ricard Borràs, and the police captain, played by Carlos Castañón, along with others are at the beach. The mayor wants to ensure that the boy is found and the case resolved so it does not interfere with the celebration. McKell then surfaces and he is accused of being involved. Meroño backs him up that he couldn’t be involved. His camera is taken though.
There is a man who works at the dam, played by Josep Maria Pou. He notices the crack and he calls someone to tell them about it. The phone cuts to his dead mother, who convinces him not to. That’s what he does.
The film informs us that McKell has an incident in his life that has changed him. He is still looking to make up for that. Meroño and Salt’s relationship is also strained. Salt then goes to babysit for a woman, played by Diana Peñalver. Her son is played by Alejandro De Nova and his sister by Gara Muñoz. Nova has an attitude that his mother is leaving him at home.
McKell’s report is to show the corruption that was done to make sure this dam was put up. We learn though that he had good reasons for having it erected. The boy from the beginning who survived grows up to be Manuel Manquiña and he is an expert on what happened in this town. He is the one that informs us that Gordon is alive and roaming free.
This is true and his power is growing. Can he be stopped? Will they find a way? Gordon wants Salt, to desecrate what Portillo did and because of her spirit. Will he succeed or will her will overcome him? Will the dam survive along with all of the people in this area?
I have to say that there were some things about this film I liked. The first was I liked the back-story of the film. I thought Gordon was creepy as the leader of this cult. I felt the cult was a good and we actually see that performing these rituals helped them to gain power and were pillars of their society. I felt the waterlogged corpses that appeared looked really good actually, in the way that they moved as well.
Now I did have quite a few issues though. The acting was pretty bland for me. The characters had way too many clichés for my liking, with the hero having the haunted past, the horrible mother and the resilient daughter. Doesn’t ruin the film by any stretch, but just comes off as unoriginal. I was also extremely confused by why some people are possessed, why others aren’t and why things are happening with no rhyme or reason. I see this film is based off of a novel, so many reading that could clarify, but at this stage it doesn’t feel very well thought out.
This film does have some good aspects, like the back-story, history and the look of the monsters. It also has its issues with bland acting, lack of clarity in the story or why things are happen as well as character clichés. I would actually probably recommend avoiding this film unless you want something that isn’t very good to enjoy with friends. There is a random orgy at the end and another spot of nudity if that helps the decision. If not for those things, I would avoid this film.
My Rating: 4 out of 10