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UNDER THE BED - Childhood Nightmares Revisited

Director – Steven C. Miller

Cast – Jonny Weston, Gattlin Griffith, Peter Holden, Musetta Vander, Kelcie Stranahan, Bryan Rasmussen, Nikki Griffin, Tyler Steelman, Sam Kindseth, Ivan Djurovic

Release Year – 2013

Reviewed by John of the Dead

After viewing Steven C. Miller’s awesome revenge horror film The Aggreson Scale, I just had to see the next film in his directing lineup, Under the Bed. Appearing to be in the same vein as horror films that play on our childhood fears, such as 1987′s The Gate and Joe Dante’s 2012 piece The Hole, my excitement was at an utmost high because these are film experiences that I genuinely love and can relate to as a life-long horror fan. With solid atmosphere and good horror whenever it hits the screen, Under the Bed is a film that carries a very long buildup that may not appease some viewers, but the horror is absolutely worthwhile and brings with it a terrifying climax.

We have all grown up fearing the monster under the bed, but Neal Hausman (Jonny Weston; John Dies at the End, Chang Mavericks) made the mistake of fighting it. Now returning from a two year exile after his failed attempt to rid the monster that has haunted him and his little brother Paul, his return awakens the beast beneath the bed and once again the brothers must battle the nocturnal menace. But with their father and step-mother taking desperate measures to bring the family back to normal, Neal and Paul must get creative, defy their parents, and rely on their lifelong bond to defeat the monster under the bed.

Stories like these are so much fun for me because they bring back fun and exciting memories of when horror films used to REALLY scare me as a kid. Writer Eric Stolze begins the story without much excitement, setting up Neal’s arrival after spending two years with his aunt for reasons not known right away, and thankfully it only takes about 20 minutes for the first horror to hit the screen. The bulk of the film centers on the conflict Neal is facing by having to deal with his frustrated father who is becoming more authoritarian by the day and a step-mother who fears him and believes it is Neal who is hurting Paul and not the lly monster under the bed. Most of the horror seen during the long developmental phase consts of the monster harasng the brothers, bellowing smoke from underneath the bed and toying with their minds, but the monster’s tenacity grows and when he finally reveals himself…everyone’s lives are at stake. With the horror growing and the location going through a small change, the creature finally shows itself with about 10 minutes of runtime left, but these final 10 minutes make the long development very worthwhile. Nobody is safe, both adults and teenagers are brutally killed, and Stolze’s story ensures they are killed in brutal fashion.

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Miller’s direction outdoes the cool story and is the biggest reason why my attention level was high despite the horror taking a while to really manifest into something great. His atmosphere is spot-on fantastic and the home and bedroom used provides for an excellent setting for monster-under-the-bed horror. I also mentioned earlier that the monster would spew fog from underneath the bed, which is a not at clasc horror and something that I genuinely miss in the genre due to how spooky it is. His execution of the character conflict was good enough and definitely had to be potive in order to keep the viewer engaged during the film’s development, and I applaud him for getting decent performances from mostly unknown actors. During this long development we are given a few specs of horror here and there, which mostly const of damn good jump scares and a little bit of animate object horror. Of course, all of Miller’s directing achievements in this piece build up to his amazing climax, which gives us creature action unlike any I have seen in quite a while. The look of the creature is absolutely amazing and it comes to us via live-action effects, as does the awesome gore and brutal dismemberment and decapitation scenes. Miller’s execution of this horror is downright awesome and actually had me wishing that the film experience would have consted of more creature action (like Feast), which would have definitely achieved a higher rating.

Overall, Under the Bed is another potive horror film from director Steven C. Miller that leaves me with an experience I will not soon forget. The story is one that I will always enjoy due to how it lets me reminisce of the “good old days” where night-lights were required for even decent sleep, and his direction expertly sells this story. The creature is great, the action it delivers is awesome, and in the end this is a horror film I recommend and suggest you experience for yourself – just t tight, let the story develop, and you will leave satisfied.

Rating: 7/10

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johnofthedead Wednesday 7/24/2013 at 06:46 AM | 101736