Feeling claustrophobic is a terrible thing. The need for space and fresh air can drive a person mad. Ben Ketai’s film Beneath is a wonderful example of what being trapped can do to a person’s psyche.
Jeff Fahey does a flawless job as George Marsh, a coal miner who is retiring after 30 years in the mines and is somewhat of a legend among co-workers. Fahey is an incredible character actor who seems to pick up on odd cues and use them in quirky ways. He truly is the start of this film. While entering the mine on his last day, he agrees to let his daughter accompany him and his rag-tag crew of coal slingers.
The tension is thick right from the get go. This can be credited to the wonderful script by Patrick Doody and Chris Valenziano. It gives us just enough character for the actors to sink their teeth into and really make their own. Once the mine collapses and the crew is trapped, it doesn’t take long for blame to be placed on one another, fights to ensue, and madness to set in. When bodies begin to pile up, the question arises, are they alone in the mine or trapped with something else?
The true terror of this film is how violent people become when they are desperate and afraid. I compare this film to Stephen King’s The Mist in the fact that had our characters just not panicked and sat it out, so to speak, the casualties would be considerably less, if at all.
I cannot say enough good things about this film. It is intense and frightening, a nerve rattling ride from beginning to end. Do yourselves a favor and check out this fantastic little film and let me know what you think. You can pick up a copy on DVD next Tuesday, October 28 only from IFC.
I personally give it 4 oxygen tanks out of 5.