Ahhh, the Maneater Series; my old movie friend. It has been a while since I have watched one of you guys. Now this is kind of interesting because the “maneater” in this movie doesn’t really have an actual form. It is basically just some sentient sludge that causes people to die by making them experience their worst fears. It honestly sounds like some story out of a Batman comic involving Scarecrow. This was actually the last of the original Maneater movies that I bought, which leaves just one movie in the series left for me to buy but that will come at a later date. Now let’s get on with today’s movie, Something Beneath.
The plot: At the construction site for a new conference center, Dutch, a construction worker who is having an affair with another worker’s wife, is warned that the husband Bob is on his way over. As he goes to leave, he is cornered by some bulldozers and killed when a wire cuts off his head but when the other workers find his body, he is shown to be impaled on some rebar. Meanwhile, Lowell Kent, the owner of the property, is having a meeting with Dr. Connolly of the EPA, who tells him that he can’t endorse the development due to pollution concerns and the decline in wildlife population in the area. Kent refuses to stop and has Connolly thrown out of his building, with his assistant saying that he is a security risk. One year later, the conference center is open and holding it’s first event, an ecological conference organized by Father Douglas Middleton. As he goes to check in, Douglas introduces himself to Khali Spence, the events coordinator for the conference center, her assistant Aimee, and Symes, the hotel manager. As an argument starts between Eugene Herman and Mikaela Strovsky, the two speakers for the event, Khali brings an abrupt end to it when she accidentally drops Mikaela’s dog when it jumps out of it’s carry case, explaining to everyone that she is afraid of dogs. As a strange black goo is shown to be leaking from the pipes in the basement, Eugene is outside rehearsing his speech when he gets the same goo on his hand after touching a tree. Suddenly, Eugene finds himself lost in the woods and as he calls out for help, he ends up being pulled underground by some roots. At dinner, Douglas and Khali see Mikaela working on her video blog, then Douglas invites Khali to join him for dinner as Eugene has bailed on him. While they are eating, Douglas comments on the necklace that Khali is wearing, noting it’s Chippewa design. The next day, Eugene is still missing so Khali takes Douglas to see the head of hotel security Jackson Denmarsh, whom Douglas knows due to his church having sued him on behalf of a Native American who said that Denmarsh framed him for murder. When they reach the security office, Denmarsh is not happy to see Douglas there but agrees to let Khali inside Eugene’s room but tells Douglas he will have to wait outside. Khali and Denmarsh head to Eugene’s room and find Reggie and Hank, the maintenance workers, working on his room and when Khali asks, they tell her they haven’t seen him. Meanwhile, Douglas is walking down the hallway towards the library when a strange figure enters the hotel through a side door after he passes. Hearing the door close, Douglas turns and starts to investigate when he runs into Mikaela, who complains about the goo coming out of the faucets in her room, which has gotten on both her and her dog Cleopatra. When Cleopatra runs off, Douglas offers to help get her but Mikaela begins flirting with him and then heads back to her room when he turns her down. Outside, Denmarsh and his assistant Tony find Eugene’s body and Denmarsh tells Tony to call the local funeral parlor and have them hold onto the body. Back in her room, Mikaela is updating her video blog again when she gets some more goo on her and begins hallucinating, seeing herself as an old crone and she ends up smashing the standing mirror, slitting her wrists in the process. As Symes complains to Khali about Eugene’s death, one of the maids finds Mikaela’s body and calls them about it. Khali wants to call the cops but Symes stops her and tells her to get Denmarsh and to find Reggie and Hank to fix the mirror. Symes then calls Kent and tells him what happened and Kent tells him to ensure that word of Mikaela’s death doesn’t get out to the press until his PR firm can get a handle on how they will spin it. Khali heads down to the basement to find Reggie when some goo falls onto her face from an overhead pipe. When she sees Cleopatra, she tries to overcome her fear of dogs and get her but Cleopatra runs off. Khali goes after her but soon encounters a wolf/dog hybrid that had chased her when she was a kid and she finds herself hallucinating that she is back in some old ruins. As the wolf/dog goes to attack her, she is saved by Douglas and she finds herself back in the basement with no sign of the hybrid but the body of Cleopatra nearby. As Khali tells Aimee and Denmarsh about the dog that attacked her as a child and how it was the same one that chased her in the basement, Reggie and Hank don protective gear and head into the sewers to try and figure out where the clog is in the system and clear it out. Douglas finds Khali sitting outside and talks with her some when they spot Connolly, who warns them to leave, and they follow after him. Inside the sewers, Reggie is concerned over the fact that the sewers are almost bone dry and there is almost no sign of any toxic gases, but there is plenty of methane pockets bubbling up. As Hank decides to take a break, Reggie continues forward and finds a pipe filled with roots and strange goo. Meanwhile, some goo gets on Hank’s hand and he starts hallucinating that he is in a cemetery and being attacked by zombies. Hank begins attacking the “zombies” and ends up in the same room as Reggie, where he attacks the mass of goo until Reggie manages to snap him out of the hallucination briefly. As they stare at the goo, they start screaming when it forms a face and suddenly grabs them. Back outside, Douglas and Khali come across an old shed, which Khali says hasn’t been used in months but Douglas notices the new padlock on it. After picking the lock, Douglas and Khali head inside and find Connolly’s lab, with Connolly telling them not to touch anything. He then shows them a sample of the goo and reveals that it is alive and growing throughout the sewer system but gets upset when Douglas says that they have to kill it. Meanwhile, Denmarsh finds Mikaela’s palm pilot and starts watching her video blog and sees something in it that scares him but when he tries to find it again, it is no longer there. Khali goes to talk with Symes and warn him about what is happening but he is more concerned with keeping up the hotel’s image and threatens to fire her if she can’t get things under control. Symes then heads outside to make a call but he gets the goo on him and ends up being controlled by it. Khali heads to her office and tells Aimee to start evacuating all of the guests and staff while Denmarsh searches Mikaela’s room and ends up getting splashed by the goo. He then heads into the sewers with Tony to look for Reggie and Hank, as well as figure out what is going on. They encounter Symes, who has been driven mad and threatens to shoot Denmarsh but Tony kills him. As Denmarsh continues on, the goo falls on Tony and he hallucinates that Symes has come back to life and he ends up being killed. Douglas, Khali, and Connolly encounter Denmarsh and they tell him what is going on, then continue forward to try and find the hive mind of the creature. After finding the bodies of Reggie and Hank, they see the creature is sealing them in and continue forward, eventually finding the creatures main body but Denmarsh seals them in, telling them he will try to keep the rest of the creature away from them as he is already infected. He ends up seeing the man he framed for murder and after talking with him, Denmarsh sets them both on fire by igniting the methane in the area. Inside the chamber, Connolly is amazed by the creature when the walkway breaks and he grabs on to the railing to keep from falling but when Khali tries to pull him up, he chooses to let go and be absorbed by the creature. When Khali falls over the edge, Douglas manages to grab her and keep her falling into the creature’s mouth but he loses his grip and she ends up falling. Suddenly, Khali reappears back in his grip and she begins chanting a chant that her grandmother taught her and the creature begins to go back into the earth, allowing Douglas to pull her to safety. Sometime later, the authorities have been called and Khali is recovering in an ambulance when Douglas approaches her. She thanks him for saving her life and he tells her that he saw her fall and she saved all of them by chanting the Ojibwe prayer, which caused the creature to forgive them for injuring it when the workers put in the sewer system. Douglas then asks her to come with him on his next assignment and she agrees before she kisses him. Meanwhile, Kent has arrived at the hotel and tells his new assistant to have the place reopened in 6 months but as he rolls his wheelchair towards his car, he finds the wheels covered in the goo, which infects him, while a nearby manhole cover is shown to have goo coming up through the openings.
This was a little bit confusing, and somewhat disappointing of a movie. The acting was ok, with Kevin Sorbo (Douglas), Natalie Brown (Khali), and Peter MacNeil (Denmarsh) did a good job in their roles. The story honestly felt poorly written, as it kind of did a piss poor job of providing the details in how the creature really came about or started killing people; choosing to just make one giant intuitive leap in reasoning. The special effects were a little on the weak side and the noise when the goo infected people was kind of annoying, sounding a lot like cicadas or some other bugs. Not my favorite movie in the series but worth watching just to complete the series.
Rating: 2 out of 5