Dustin Ferguson (Axegrinder 2, Apex Predators), writer/director of The Beast Beneath is quite a busy guy. According to IMDB he’s directed 105 films since 2007. That’s a pace even Jess Franco couldn’t have kept up with. Surprisingly I haven’t seen many of them, so when I got the chance to review The Beast Beneath, I naturally said yes.
The Beast Beneath opens with an earthquake in a desert valley, “20 miles from San Diego” according to the on-screen text. That quake opens a crack in the earth and a two-thousand-year-old creature emerges. Fortunately for it, there’s a constant stream of hikers to keep it fed starting with AVN Hall of Famer Alana Evans (Wanna Fuck My Daughter Gotta Fuck Me First 13).
As the body count rises Sheriff Brackett (D.T. Carney, John Dies at the End, Left Alone in the Snow) has to deal with a mayor (Mel Novak, Game of Death, Tales of Frankenstein) who wants to cover it up. Meanwhile, scientist Dr. Brinkeman (Brinke Stevens, Eminence Hill, Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity), her brother Aaron (Eric Prochnau, Clown Motel: Spirits Arise) and his wife Cheryl (Sheri Davis, The Devil’s Heist, Blood Craft) have plans of their own for the creature.
The Beast Beneath is an enjoyably silly and extremely low budget hour-long throwback to old school monster movies. The bits of the beast we get to see reminded me of the mine dwelling title beasties from The Boogens, only a bit more rubbery. But at least it wasn’t CGI. Unfortunately, the blood and explosion effects are.
The cast is full of familiar faces from the indie horror scene, mostly turning long enough to become monster chow. Apart from those already mentioned, there’s Jennifer Nangle (Ugly Sweater Party, Thanks Killing) who plays Cheryl’s best friend who’s also her husband’s mistress (some guys have all the luck). Mike Ferguson (Nowhere to Run, Beyond the Law) shows off a Danzig belt buckle and Shawn C. Phillips (The Candy Witch, Dead Ant) as a guy watching Ferguson’s Angry Asian Murder Hornets on TV. The director himself turns up as a drug dealer under his Dark Infinity pseudonym.
The plot could have used a bit of tightening. Even at this short length, The Beast Beneath felt a little bit padded at points. Trimmed of those scenes it would have made a great segment of an anthology film. Conversely, the rather sudden ending could have been expanded on a bit.
Fans of microbudget films should get a kick out of The Beast Beneath despite the pacing issues. It’s available on DVD with some bonus features that include a behind the scenes segment and the film’s trailer. You can check SCS Entertainment’s Facebook page for more details.