Director Steven C. Miller offers horror fans something of an extension of “Little Monster” where he sets the entire film around two brothers battling the monster under their bed. When older brother Paulie’s brother is kidnapped by the monster, he takes on the beast and torn limbs begin to fall every which way. “Under the Bed” thankfully garners something of an interesting exploration of the monster under the bed, and how it’s not only alive thanks to the children, but because of the inherent anger from familial tensions.
Dad Terry has the best of intentions, but is kind of a monster himself. Especially when he’s so dead set on getting his sons to embrace normality, in spite of the monster’s mission to make these kids suffer. Paulie returns from two years in mental care from his aunt after the accidental death of his mother sent him on a downward spiral. Convinced she was murdered by the monster under his bed, his dad shipped him off to get help and he returns to find that nothing much has changed. Miller is obviously influenced by Sam Raimi and pays many an homage to his directorial style and monsters, with some creepy imagery and ghoulish monsters.
You can sense much of the nods here from “The Gate,” and the “Evil Dead,” where the brothers are attacked by demonic versions of their parents that look horrifically like deadites. You also have to appreciate character Paulie’s heroic inspiration while clutching a chainsaw. I also loved the chemistry between actors Johnny Weston and Gattlin Griffin, both of whom are very convincing as brothers with an bond that’s unfortunately tied through a deadly monster. That said “Under the Bed” is not without its faults. Like previous films, director Miller has to work around the low budget, and sometimes the chinks tend to show from the editing and limited scenery.
Plus there’s never any actual rationale for the monster taunting this family other than missing out on eating Paulie’s little brother. The monster under the bed looks slick and really does wreak pure havoc when the time comes to stare it down and save the day. I loved the odes to Spielberg films with the tether a la “Poltergeist” and the light gun a la “Little Monsters.” You have to wonder what other monsters await from the bowels of the bed. Steven C. Miller composes a strong and entertaining horror outing with a premise that still draws some creative juices. While it’s not a masterpiece, “Under the Bed” is a fun and gory little spooky tale flaws and all. It’s one that will satiate folks in the mood for a monster romp in the vein of “Monster Squad.”
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