What Lies Below review – a dire coming-of-age horror with a fishy twist | Film

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You might find enough giggles in this stupendously silly coming-of-age horror to keep yourself amused. But, honestly, it’s not really funny enough to be enjoyably bad – even with a bizarro erotic storyline involving humans and fish. It stars Ema Horvath (who, it’s fair to say, looks pretty uncomfortable) as 16-year-old Liberty, back from summer camp to find that her mum, Michelle (Mena Suvari), has installed a young new boyfriend in their home. He is superhunk John, an aquatic geneticist played by Trey Tucker, whose wooden acting I doubt would make the grade in a porn film.

Embarrassingly, Liberty can’t hide the fact that she has a massive crush on John. Worse, he creepily stares at her while making out with her mum in the kitchen – and walks around the house naked. Director Braden R Duemmler creates zero tension in these moments. Is there an erotic frisson between Liberty and John? Or does his behaviour amount to grooming? Through all of this, mum Michelle is clueless and poor Suvari has nothing to do but drool over John, and pant terrible cougar-ish lines like: “I’m riding him constantly.”

As it happens, the question about which lucky lady has the keys to John’s heart melts away when he is seen – a la Troy McClure – pervily eyeing up specimens in the tank in the basement; fish are his one true love. “You’re kind of a weird dude,” says Liberty, underplaying the freaky plot twist.

To prepare you for that, there’s a mad scene in which Liberty gets her period in a rowing boat with John – who leans over and licks the blood, a peculiar quiver passing over his face. The denouement when it comes is meant to be shriek of pure sci-fi horror; but really, you’d find better entertainment – and more energetic acting – watching a fish tank.

• Released on 22 February on digital platforms.

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Source: The Guardian
Keyword: What Lies Below review – a dire coming-of-age horror with a fishy twist | Film

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