Under The Bed (2012)
"YOU WERE RIGHT TO BE AFRAID" exclaims the DVD cover in red capital letters. But I wasn't afraid. Not at any point. I guess "You were right to be underwhelmed and a bit bored" might not make such a good tagline. A troubled teenager returns home after causing a fire that damaged the family home and killed his mother. He's reunited with his younger brother, and we learn there's something mildly interesting that dwells under the bed that's supposed to play on our childhood fears. Of course, nobody believes the boys about the danger, and their father simply shouts a lot and locks people in their bedrooms (despite the previous fire causing a death in the house).
This is an incredibly slow film to get going, with a weak story, and within 30 minutes I was seriously struggling to stay engaged with it. It feels like someone has taken a few random elements from A Nightmare On Elm Street, Poltergeist, Hellraiser and Insidious, and thrown them together in a made-for-TV filler movie. But forgot to add any scariness or charm.
None of the characters are remotely interesting, and I really didn't care what happened to any of them. The oldest boy looks tired and bored every time he's on screen, he speaks in a dull monotone, and sucks all the energy out of every scene he's in. I know he's meant to be sleep-deprived, but he just made me feel tired and bored in return. The dialogue is laugh-out-loud embarrassing in places. The music is far too over-dramatic, especially in scenes where nothing much is happening, and it ends up reducing the tension rather than increasing it. And several questions are left frustratingly unanswered. Why is there a monster under the bed in the first place? If the monster "just wants me" [the oldest boy] then why is it killing everyone else? How does the creature end up next door? (I'm not buying the dust on pillowcase suggestion.) Why is the dad so half-heartedly angry all the time? Why did the Freddy Kreuger-like nightmare idea get introduced then get promptly dropped and never mentioned again?
So without tension or a decent story to rely on, the horror is mainly down to an over-used smoke machine and a man in a monster suit. Admittedly the monster does look pretty good, but by the time it's given anything interesting to do (in the final 20 minutes) I was past caring. There's also some reasonably well done gore in that last section too. But it's a case of too little too late, and I imagine many viewers would have switched the film off long before then.
As for the dramatic ending, the final resolution makes no sense at all, and actually annoyed me enough to shout at the TV screen.
The film recreates the feel of those family-friendly or teenager monster movies of the 80s, and I do like that idea. But with a liberal sprinkling of f-bombs and the gore at the end, I'm a bit confused about who its intended audience is. I can appreciate a good horror film that scares me or intrigues me. And I can appreciate a bad horror film that entertains me and makes me laugh. But not a horror film that bores me. Or insults my intelligence. And Under The Bed is unfortunately one of those. 1/5