The movie starts with older brother, Neal ( Jonny Weston – “John Dies at the End”), returning from his Aunt’s house in Florida. He was sent away following the death of his Mother, two years ago. We aren’t sure exactly why he was sent away until the movie starts to pick up steam. He arrives home to a welcoming party and a brand new step-mother. His father and new step-mother really just want Neal to re-adjust, but his little brother Paulie (Gattlin Griffith – “Supernatural”) has had some troubles while Neal has been away.
Neal and Paulie’s real problem though, is the monster under the bed that wants them. Neal, specifically.
After the set-up, we get little pieces of the back story through passing conversation. All of the characters are vivid and believable. These are a couple of rather scarred kids. Not only has their mother died, and their father has found a new wife-they also have to deal with the thing under the bed that wants them dead.
I won’t lie. The start of the movie is pretty slow. It really takes a while to get going, but I think the build up to the climax is what makes the movie great. So if you’re a fan of that kind of film, then this is for you. It’s pretty clever, the way the movie plays on your childhood fears.
Who hasn’t got a good running start to the bed, so if there is something underneath it, it cant grab you? What if it were a real threat? Would you fight back?
All of the performances here are top-notch, but there are a few hang-ups. The family drama isn’t exactly believable, and seems like it’s just there to take up some time. Therefore, the slow burn aspect gets downplayed, and seems more like it’s wasting your time before it gets to “the good stuff”. Not to mention that the father of the family comes off as an unreasonable prick. The family dynamic is never really explored, so the drama that ensues is at best confusing, and awkward. This would be a five star film if the drama that leads up to the climax was interesting. But it falls short. There is also a teenage love story to be had, but alas, it never gets any real attention either. I guess it just seems like the writers had a few good ideas to go on, and never really fleshed them out properly.
So, its not a perfect film. But there are plenty of great things about it.
But lets get to “the good stuff”. The slow burn has a great payoff with a well-designed creature, and at least a higher than usual amount of gore. The effects are almost all practical, which is one reason that I liked the movie. No cheap CGI to be seen here. It brings you back to “midnight movies” that would come on Cinemax or HBO, 20 years ago ( Think “Basketcase” or “Puppet Master”). It seems cheap, but has heart. It’s not an A-list movie, but then again-it isn’t supposed to be either. It isn’t pretentious whatsoever. Personally, I really like that kind of film. There are some really creepy moments created by the lack of special effects. If that makes any sense.
So if you’re looking for a good movie to satisfy your insatiable horror hunger, give “Under The Bed” a shot. Could it be better? Sure it could. But it is what it is. And it has no apologies.