#143 -- "B" Challenge: Beneath the Surface (2007)

Director: Blake Reigle
Rating: 5/5

The synopsis of Beneath the Surface is really vague. It sounds interesting, but you can't really be sure by just reading it. The synopsis tells us that Ethan watched his crush being murdered by her boyfriend. That's it. So I checked out the trailer, hoping it would give me a little bit more. The trailer was pretty vague too. It did give me more, but not very much. The trailer tells us that, somehow, that girl came back from the dead. Mostly what the trailer told me, personally, was that it starred a cute skater boy and featured some kick-ass music. That was enough for me. Anyways, here's the story. Ethan was in love with Kahla, a girl he grew up with. She was in with the popular crowd, she was a cheerleader, and she was dating Shane, a guy they called "Super Douche." He was, indeed, a super douche, because all he wanted from Kahla was...well, I'm sure you can guess. But for whatever reason, Kahla wouldn't give him any. So he decided to take matters into his own hands at a party he was throwing. He was planning on making her, quote, "squirt slut sauce." He gave her a little bit of Ecstasy and took her up to the bedroom. Problem was, the drugs just weren't enough. She wasn't feeling well and, therefore, wasn't feeling up to what he wanted to do. His solution? More Ecstasy! That didn't turn out to well either, though, because Kahla wound up dead. Ethan did walk in after the fact, but he was sure that Shane had killed her. He knew she didn't commit suicide, as Shane's father had everyone believe. Conveniently, a strange archaeologist moved in next-door to Ethan. She was doing research on Haitian Voodoo, and their resurrection rituals. She had the instruments to perform the ritual, and invited Ethan into her house to do some studying of his own. She actually left for a while and gave him the key, which was pretty dumb on her part. Ethan stole her "stuff," and went to get Kahla out of her grave. The "instrument" in question was not Zombie Powder, as you would think, but it was some sort of knife made from a snake's head. Or maybe it really was a snake's head. But all Ethan had to do was puncture Kahla's wrist with the snake's fangs, and wait. The ritual was a success, and Kahla did return from the dead. But she wasn't herself. She was a blank slate. Like the Haitian Voodoo zombies, Kahla became Ethan's slave. She wouldn't move or do anything unless Ethan told her to. You would think he'd do some not-so-nice things to her (or make her do things to him), but he was too nice a guy to do that. Plus he was in love with her. All he wanted was for her to be able to speak out and let everyone know that Shane killed her. The problem was that she couldn't remember a damn thing. Ethan tried several ways of making her remember, one of which was dressing up like Shane and trying to re-enact the incident. Nothing worked. So, he kept her hidden in a little makeshift coffin under his bed, and he tried new things every day. It wasn't until Kahla laid eyes on Shane that anything changed. Ethan contacted the archaeologist, Angelica, and she told him all about the Haitian zombies. They were programmed for one thing only: to seek revenge and kill whoever put them in their tomb. Once they locked eyes on their murderer, they would stop at nothing to kill them. Shane was pretty freaked out when he saw Kahla (kind of) alive, but it got worse when she broke into his house and tried to kill him. The police showed up and stopped her, sadly, but she had some tricks up her sleeve. She pulled her pants down, put the knife in Shane's hand, and laid down on top of him. When the police arrived, Shane was arrested for grave robbing and necrophilia. But was Kahla able to get her revenge?

This one was definitely fresh. Most independent zombie movies rely on cheese or over-the-top gore to try and reel in the viewers. This one, though...I don't think it had any tricks. It was trying to be a good movie, and it succeeded. It was actually very funny in certain parts and had me cracking up. It was also creepy, the way Kahla just kind of stood there doing nothing with that blank look in her eyes. But of course, you've already figured out, it was a love story. I'm a sucker for some love stories too, as long as they're not purely love story. I like them with some comedy, or some horror. This one had all three, so I really loved it. The story really was sweet. Sure, it's not every day someone digs up the corpse of the person they're in love with. It's not every day someone brings their girlfriend back to life. It's kind of strange, and I guess you could call Ethan a weirdo if you want to. But, having been called a weirdo many, many times in my life, I don't think so. He wanted to prove that her death was not a suicide, he found an opportunity to do so, and he took it. At first, I was wrestling with the decision of giving this one a four star rating or a five star. I was kind of hoping that Kahla would eventually respond to him, and a beautiful relationship would arise. But when I started thinking about it, I thought that would have made it cheesy. Then I realized that they did the right thing here. Ethan wasn't looking to make Kahla fall in love with him. He was just trying to help her rest in peace. This showed us, more than anything, how much he loved her. In the end, I gave it a five-star rating. It had everything that I love; except gore, but I can live with that.

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