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What Lies Beneath (2000)


Average Rating: 5.5/10
Reviews Counted: 124
Fresh: 57
Rotten: 67

Critics Consensus: Robert Zemeckis is unable to salvage an uncompelling and unoriginal film.

Average Rating: 5/10
Reviews Counted: 31
Fresh: 13
Rotten: 18

Critics Consensus: Robert Zemeckis is unable to salvage an uncompelling and unoriginal film.


Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 278,222


Movie Info

It had been a year since Dr. Norman Spencer betrayed his beautiful wife Claire. But with Claire oblivious to the truth and the affair over, Norman's life and marriage seem perfect--so perfect that when Claire tells him of hearing mysterious voices and seeing a young woman's wraithlike image in their home, he dismisses her mounting terror as delusion. However, as Claire moves closer to the truth, it becomes clear that this apparition will not be dismissed, and has come back for Dr. Norman … More

PG-13 (for terror/violence, sensuality and brief language)
Drama , Horror , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
Clark Gregg
In Theaters:
Jan 30, 2001
Box Office:
DreamWorks SKG


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Critic Reviews for What Lies Beneath

All Critics (148) | Top Critics (35) | Fresh (57) | Rotten (67) | DVD (30)

A classy supernatural lady-in-distress thriller.

January 1, 2000
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Essentially, it's claptrap.

January 1, 2000
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Ford is top-billed, but it's Pfeiffer's movie and she's very good.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

Lacking a smarter screenplay, it milks the genuine skills of its actors and director for more than it deserves, and then runs off the rails in an ending more laughable than scary.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

With What Lies Beneath, Zemeckis finally combines his fondness for fright flicks with the character-driven drama of his best work, and the result is one doozy of a ghost story.

Full Review… | February 5, 2014

Cross between Fatal Attraction, Poltergeist.

Full Review… | December 29, 2010
Common Sense Media

It's just gimmick all the way.

Full Review… | July 23, 2007

They could've cut 10 minutes out of the first hour easily...and it still might have been too slow.

Full Review… | September 23, 2006

If the ghost can go hunt for the villain by itself, why does it bother writing cryptic messages to strangers?

Full Review… | January 15, 2005
Looking Closer

Offers nothing original.

Full Review… | June 26, 2004

unarguably Pfeiffer's showcase: She's in almost every scene and she turns in captivating work under the direction of Robert Zemeckis, a filmmaker who knows how to show his audience a very good time.

Full Review… | June 15, 2002
Kalamazoo Gazette

Considerando-se o talento dos protagonistas do projeto, é impossível não pensar que o resultado poderia ter sido muito melhor.

May 31, 2002
Cinema em Cena

Most of the “boo” moments are obvious a mile off, which makes it hard to be properly frightened, or even startled.

Full Review… | May 8, 2002
Decent Films Guide

The only flaw in What Lies Beneath is that the artists involved are clearly swinging for the fences. The best they can manage here is a ground rule double.

Full Review… | October 24, 2001
Flipside Movie Emporium

Pfeiffer almost single-handedly lifts the picture above mediocrity.

Full Review… | May 2, 2001
Slant Magazine

I'll take this genuine, if not terribly original, creepiness over the latest self-conscious teen slasher flick any day of the week.

Full Review… | April 18, 2001
Apollo Guide

Is there anybody out there seriously interested in seeing Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer doing the nasty?

Full Review… | March 24, 2001
WBAI Web Radio

This film is an unexpectedly adult emotional rollercoaster.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000

Zemeckis keeps things taut for edge-of-your-seat excitement until all is dead and done.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
E! Online

What really lies beneath all this nonsense is a superb support cast.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Jam! Movies

Something of a "guilty pleasure" simply due to the fun house type thrills it offers, What Lies Beneath isn't great, but it's good enough.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Screen It!

A decent popcorn movie for adults, but not much lies beneath

Full Review… | January 1, 2000

Vewers may find themselves riveted.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Audience Reviews for What Lies Beneath

What Lies Beneath is directed well and has some strong performances by a very capable cast. The character development goes well to begin with, both Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer playing a convincing married couple, then it all seems to go wrong. There are a few great scenes in the film but none of them work together to make a great film. Many sub-plots lead to anti-climaxes, genres get confused and suddenly history changes without any real explanation. *Spoiler alert* You can't develop a character to then say 'Oh, by the way, you were in a traffic accident, that we wont go into, so you might have forgotten this really important thing I'm about to tell you. Don't try to make a Hitchcock tribute by breaking all of his rules! As a psychological thriller it fails. As a supernatural thriller it fails. As a haunted house thriller it fails. As an entertaining use of 2 hours + it fails.

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer


Man this movie dragged for me. I could not stay interested long enough to be interested in the story.

Red Lats

Super Reviewer

In this no-bones-about-it homage to Hitchcock, Director Robert Zemekis adds a touch of the supernatural to the Master's usual game of confusing possibilities as a empty nesting mom starts to hear strange ("what's that? is anybody there?") noises in the house. The leads are wholesome and warm ... until the twist at the end. Count the references to Hitchcock hallmarks!

Apeneck Fletcher

Super Reviewer

What Lies Beneath has an interesting concept with a good cast. Director Robert Zemeckis crafts a good ghost story here, and manages to keep the thrills and chills fresh as the film progresses. What Lies Beneath is good horror film with a good cast. Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer are good here, and the story is entertaining, chilling and scary. What Lies Beneath was very entertaining, and it kept me on the edge of my seat quite a few times. The cast do a fine job, and the story is quite interesting. I very much enjoyed this film Harrison Ford is pretty good in this, and though he doesn't deliver any memorable performances such was the case of Han Solo, and Indiana Jones, he still is able to pull through with a good enough performance to keep you interested in the overall film. What Lies Beneath has a good story that is very engaging. What Lies Beneath is a flawed film, but it manages good scares and does keep you on the edge of your seat. The cast are very good here, and considering that Harrison Ford is a so-so actor nowadays, he does deliver here. Robert Zemeckis has a good directorial style and he sets a good tone and atmosphere for the film, key elements for a good horror yarn. What lies Beneath is a good, creepy film that has a good cast and an interesting story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

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