Featured Post

Featured Post - Mystery Movie Marathon

I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Monday, February 19, 2024

What Waits Below (1984)

Nothing makes me happier then finding an oddball eighties science fiction or horror flick that I missed growing up. I watched a lot but with the boom of VHS there were so many movies getting made it isn’t shocking that I’ve not seen them all. That is one of the reasons I love the hobby of tracking down and reviewing so much. What Waits Below is one of those flicks that I could have eagerly grabbed off the shelf as it’s cave exploring mutant underground albino tribe story was and is right in my wheelhouse. So, what did I think? First let’s talk about the plot.

The movie opens with our hero Wolf spying on some soldiers scuba diving in what appears to be a small pond or stream. They spot him when an old friend, George, shows up to talk. This leads to a high speed chase, lots of shooting, and a crash. No worries though as our adventurous mercenaries are fine. George then tells Wolf of a high paying job with the U.S. Military. Seems they need help setting up a communication device in a cave system but need their expertise to pull it off. Why? Something about nuclear submarines and secret Cold War stuff.

None of the above really matters to the story other than to get the characters in the cave. Along the way Wolf and George pick up a couple of army guys and some anthropologists interested in the artifacts found in the cave system. When the gear is stolen and taken deeper into the cave system this group goes after it. They find some cave monster, glowing moss that is perfect for lighting a scene, and albino humans who have been isolated from the surface for thousands of years. Some folks die, lessons are learned, and the end credits roll.

The tribe
What Waits Below isn’t a good movie. The pacing is off as they meander to set up the story and when they do set off in the cave we get way too much wandering around in the “dark”. In reality this is about the brightest cave I’ve ever seen on film. Now they actually shot in a cave and not sets which you would think was a good thing. Instead it had the odd effect of them having to choose locations where they could fit their gear rather than have a flexible artificial setup. All the scenes are in the more open sections where stuff could fit and be lit. The end result is a movie set underground that doesn’t feel claustrophobic, which was a disappointment.

I also was a bit bummed that they spoil the albino underground tribe by showing them in the first attack. A little bit of mystery before a big reveal later on would have likely helped hold my interest in what I was watching. On a positive note, I did dig the rubber monsters that they encounter. They are small dog sized worm creatures but I’m always down for some latex monster mayhem.

I appreciate a good rubber monster!
The best part about the movie is some of the supporting cast. We get Timothy Bottoms as the army major who has a beef with Wolf and is going to accomplish his mission at all costs. I was also completely unaware of the fact that legendary genre actor Richard Johnson (The Haunting, Zombie) appears as one of the scientists. I was also pleased to see Lisa Blount (Prince of Darkness, Blind Fury) in a smaller role as a scientist. There was some talent involved in this one, at least in front of the camera.

Here is where things are difficult for me. Objectively What Waits Below isn’t a good movie, but I sort of liked it. It is just the sort of bad flick that I remember renting all the time when I was in high school. I don’t know if that will translate to anyone else so I can’t recommend it. That said if you like oddball eighties movies that probably lived on the VHS aisles of your local Mom and Pop rental store then maybe you will dig this one like I did. The good news is that there is a VHS rip of this currently on YouTube, so it isn’t hard to find and won’t cost you anything other than your time.


© Copyright 2024 John Shatzer

No comments:

Post a Comment