Indiscriminately stitched together from the carcasses of horror films past, Steven C. Miller’s spooker relocates one of the mutants from It’s Alive III: Island of the Alive to the scariest place for a nightlight-dependent preadolescent outside of the closet and pits the thing against two brothers equipped with the ingenuity one might glean from a double bill of Poltergeist and The Gate. Slickly anonymous, and with a distinctly Amblin-esque sense of nostalgia, Under the Bed extols the courage of Neal (Jonny Weston) and his younger bro, Paulie (Gattlin Griffith), as they struggle to overcome the sort of anxiety typically treated in real life with 20 milligrams of Prozac a day. Neal, back from a long sojourn in Florida after having set a fire that killed his mother, reconnects with Paulie and halfheartedly attempts a friendship with his Zach Galifanakis look-alike father’s do-gooder new wife. Except things get off to a predictably rough start when Neal’s caught fondly regarding a conveniently located chainsaw and someone needs to be blamed for the wound on Paulie’s neck that was caused by some under-bed-dwelling ghoulie with Frankenstein hands, a lion’s roar, and a Bonnie Tyler smoke machine. The idea of kids bandying together in grief in order to do battle against the hang-ups that irrationally grip them is rife with potentially poignant and penetrating implications and insights, except the phobia here is real (unseen, even at its nosiest, by the film’s adults—until the climax requires them to) and is neither rooted in Neal and Paulie’s shared trauma in having lost their mother nor in any possible abuse their father’s perpetual anger might have explored in another film whose sense of conviction and psychological nuance rose above that of the “I Learned It from Watching You” anti-drug PSA.
- XLrator Media
- 87 min
- Steven C. Miller
- Eric Stolze
- Jonny Weston, Gattlin Griffith, Peter Holden, Musetta Vander, Kelcie Stranahan, Bryan Rasmussen, Nikki Griffin, Tyler Steelman, Sam Kindseth, Ivan Djurovic
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: