BENEATH – A CAVE HORROR FILM by JJ PEREZ

Directed by Jj Perez/ Reviewed by Provesha Pyne

JJ Perez’s film “Beneath” is a classic story of a Halloween demon summoning gone wrong. But truly, how many demon summoning have ever gone right?

In Perez’s story, a group of colleagues working at the Inner Space Cavern decide of test out a story of a cult sacrifice on the Halloween night. Enzo Monfre as Daniel,Michael Morris as Nathan, Brooke Mckinney as April, Meghan Forbes as Sarah and Neal Sansing as Kevin embark on a journey into the nearby caves to get their facts straight. Can a demon be summoned or not?

Beneath starts out not-so-normally with a cult sacrifice being shown at the very beginning. What follows is a bone-chilling experience for both, the victim and the audience. Blood and gore make up the basis of the sacrifice. Simple, right? Nope. The sacrifice sets the tone for what is to come later on.

The storyline is built around the legend that comes from a horrific incident that took place inside the cave several years ago. What is the most interesting aspect about this cave is that the filming crew and cast are all people who are employees of the Inner Space Caverns, in Georgetown, Texas and access was granted to them because they had gained the trust of the management. This also helped the cast during their scenes that involved running and hiding. There’s a fun fact from behind the scenes.

Perez takes the small budget film to new heights. Often with films working on a tight schedule and newbies in the cast, one has to be sure who one is working with. But Perez makes the most of it as do the rest of the cast. It doesn’t seem like he is a first-time filmmaker with all of the work that make up this horror film. What is impressive with how Perez plays around with the camera angles. Judging by the sharp turns and nooks and crannies in the cave it must have been a real task navigating through the cave and Perez has done a fabulous job.

I was pleasantly surprised the film turned out the way it did. The storyline held through the film, the ending was a twist and there a few jump scares and scary moments strew throughout. All in all, JJ does a very good job of following through with his best loved genre.

The cast and crew have to be applauded on the work they did. It must not have been easy to film inside the cave at night, especially with all the running around during the later half of the film. One particularly interesting part of the film comes when one of the main characters, Sarah has to come to terms with the horrifying consequences of her impending doom when she uses her camera’s flash to illuminate the pathway in front of her and realize the demon is making his way closer and closer. The death of the chirpy and well-liked girl can only mean that the end is upon them and Perez uses this to instil fear into the hearts of those who are left behind and still alive (for the time being!)

Reality takes a hit in this small town. Once inside the cave there seems to be eerie, chilling feelings spreading throughout you, worried for the safety of these young, reckless, law breaking young people. But soon you realize that nothing is indeed as it seems. Past the stroke of midnight, the danger increases and The Midnight Man makes his appearance. Nathan, very anxious about ghostly and fiendish things and generally not a fan of Halloween, is not into the plan as much as his other colleagues are. But that makes it exactly what we want, doesn’t it?

What is nice is that Perez works on the horror film and makes it exactly that – a horror film. The movie doesn’t parade as something it is not. It features the typical aspects of a classic horror flick: blood, gore, guns, a demon, a summoning and a cult murder. It is rough, funny, cliché, and wholesome and charming.

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