Liberty, a socially awkward 16-year-old, returns from two months at camp to a blindsided introduction of her mother’s fiancé, John Smith, whose charm, intelligence, and beauty paint the picture of a man too perfect to be human.
At least once, and likely more times than that, we’ve all enjoyed the guilty pleasure of a cheesy Lifetime cautionary chiller about a Craigslist killer, serial murderer unknowingly met online, or some other ‘Dirty John’ scenario of love gone horribly wrong. One character usually waves all the warning signs at the woman whose eyes are blinded by hearts, only for the danger to be ignored until a suspenseful showdown once the terrible truth comes out in the open.
“What Lies Below” adds a sci-fi hook to that style of ‘ripped from real-life romance’ drama by asking, what if a daughter discovered mom’s too-good-to-be-true new boyfriend is secretly a shapeshifting Lovecraftian fish monster? That’s the kind of made-for-TV kookiness I can get behind, even if “What Lies Below” is a straight-to-streaming thriller that feels like a basic cable MOW without technically being one.
What’s hard to get behind is the way “What Lies Below” sexualizes 16-year-old heroine Liberty. Upon meeting her mother Michelle’s new beau, attractive aquatic geneticist John, the first thing Liberty notices is how “hot” he is. How can she not, what with the way the camera tilts from his crotch to his face as John rises from water in slow motion wearing nothing but a banana hammock. Through a dropped jaw, Liberty whispers, “Holy crap.” Michelle responds, “I know. I’m riding him constantly,” which is a shocking sentiment to express to your daughter at any time, much less during a first impression.
Director What Lies Below (2020) :
Braden R. Duemmler
Writer What Lies Below (2020):
Braden R. Duemmler
Stars What Lies Below (2020):
Ema Horvath, Troy Iwata, Danny Corbo | See full cast & crew »
Content retrieved from: https://www.themoviedb.org/movie/716703-what-lies-below.