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‘What Lies Beneath’ and the Not GONNA HAPPEN NOW Moment

When Claire Spencer (Michelle Pfeiffer) believes she is being haunted by the ghost of a murdered woman, her husband Norman (Harrison Ford), a university research scientist, suspects the car accident she had the previous year is to blame, but Claire, finding she is able to contact the dead, discovers a much darker reason that puts her own life in serious danger.

Michelle Pfeiffer, Harrison Ford (DreamWorks Pictures)
Michelle Pfeiffer, Harrison Ford (DreamWorks Pictures)

Directed by Robert Zemeckis, What Lies Beneath knows how to set up and deliver the jump scares, and is well-cast with both Ford and especially Pfeiffer delivering some truly great performances in a story that takes a lot to accept at face value, with an intriguing murder mystery weakened by a supernatural plot twist. Depending on your willingness to dive into the quasi-horror aspect of it, the film could be satisfying though falls flat ins contrast with the grounded realism of the lead actors.

DreamWorks Pictures
DreamWorks Pictures

The Not Gonna Happen Now Moment

This moment is all about the most suspenseful sequence in the movie as Norman decides he’s had enough of Claire’s meddling about extramarital affairs, murder, and talk of ghosts. To appease her, he confesses to an affair and lies that the girl committed suicide, and, with Claire’s urging, calls the police to report the story. While she thinks he goes to shower to await their arrival, she redials the number and realizes he never made the call while he actually sneaks up behind her and sedates her so she can’t move, carrying her up into the bathtub for a little surprise.

What Lies Beneath
DreamWorks Pictures

With her limp but conscious body in his arms, he places her under the running shower face up in the tub, continually talking to her as is she is the one that has made the mistake. Her eyes wide open but unable to move, she lies in terror as he plugs the drain and redirects the water from the shower to the faucet (even adjusting it so it isn’t too cold). He then calls a friend of Claire’s and admits to a fight and that he is going to spend the night elsewhere and could she come check on Claire in the morning, thereby getting someone else to find her body and give it the appearance she killed her self. It’s Harrison Ford like we’ve never seen him before (or since) and it remains a divisive moment for fans who weren’t ready to accept him as anyone other than the hero.

Clip courtesy Movieclips



Robert Zemeckis


Clark Gregg (screenplay), Sarah Kernochan(story)

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