I’ve wanted to see this short film for a very long time (aka: like three weeks…) and that’s for two very important reasons. First, I’m a sucker for a good visual and the promo poster featured above instantly grabbed my attention. Second, Beneath comes to horror fans straight from the mind and hands of Mass Grave Pictures’ Lindsay Serrano. Mass Grave Pictures is known for Wild Eye Releasing’s slasher flick Blood Slaughter Massacre, film festival favorite M is for Mastectomy, and current psychological scifi-drama Theta States. While Lindsay has always been an integral part of MGP and even co-directed their web-series “Attack of the Brain People” and and an episode of “Zombie Hunters: City of the Dead,” Beneath is the first time she’s stepped out on her own and sat in the director’s chair. It’s certainly a daunting task, but luckily Lindsay is a real film-maker and she knows the craft. That’s why it’s so easy for me to champion this mini-movie.
The world is calling out for strong and talented female directors, and rightfully so. In the same token, however, I feel like certain titles are getting rounds of applause due to gender and body parts and not because of talent, effort and quality. I can say with 100% certainty that Lindsay Serrano is a quality film-maker and has tremendous potential to go even further than what I found here. Beneath seems like just a taste of what she can do and I’m patiently awaiting her next film adventure. But, let me get leave politics behind and deal with this review. While previous MGP productions have maintained a level of retro flair, Serrano’s Beneath took a more modern approach and incorporated a current pop culture trend into its central plot – social media and how it destroys our lives. It’s been seen in shows like “Scream: The TV Series” and 2015’s Unfriended. Beneath follows a racy, private home movie that is uploaded to a popular video sharing site and threatens to ruin a young woman’s life. Now, she’s out to get even with her deceptive boyfriend, and there’s nothing more powerful than a thirst for revenge… except maybe the thirst for blood.
Beneath is written, directed and produced by Lindsay Serrano with producer and editor Manny Serrano. Louie Cortes served as assistant director with David Gechman on coloring and Brandon Boone on scoring. Cast members include Alyssa Booth, Frankie Basile, Samantha Quintana and Sarah Elizabeth Chapin. As expected, Serrano delivers a sexually charged, suspenseful horror flick rooted in realism. Not a lot of people can relate to being hunted in the woods or having great white sharks hurled at them, but the majority of the public can relate to having a shitty ex who did something stupid and ruined the relationship. In this case, viewers will savor the young woman’s revenge just as much as her… special friend. And what’s great about this is that the actors all match their desired character portrayals. Alyssa is delicate but sinister. Frankie plays the asshole well. And Samantha is the ultimate mean girl. I will say, though, that a surprise entrance near the end of this short film was probably my favorite character. I smiled from ear to ear.
When it comes to criticizing Beneath, I have but one complaint… There are some shaky shots near the middle of this short that I just couldn’t ignore. Obviously the error wasn’t intentional and wasn’t ignored during editing, but it’s something I needed to bring up in the effort of fairness. Other than that, Beneath is pretty solid and, with all due respect, I think it’s probably my favorite piece from Mass Grave Pictures to date. Sorry, Manny, this one just speaks to me. I think Lindsay’s debut short would be a worthy and fitting entry in any film festival, and I could even seeing it being a part of a DVD anthology in the future. Ya know, one of those compilations showcasing the best independent film-makers in the game. Fortunately, I’m positive Beneath will debut on the internet in the near future, after its festival run, and I highly recommend you check it out then. It’s a sassy, bloody and surprising horror flick and I enjoyed it. Now, I demand that Lindsay brings me a slasher flick next. I really want to see what she can do with that… Final Score: 8 out of 10.