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Under the Bed DVD Review

Under the Bed (2013) DVD cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Under the Bed

Video Debut: July 30, 2013 / Running Time: 87 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: Steven C. Miller / Writer: Eric Stolze

Cast: Jonny Weston (Neal Hausman), Gattlin Griffith (Paulie Hausman), Peter Holden (Terry Hausman), Mussetta Vander (Angela Hausman), Kelcie Stranahan (Cara Evans), Bryan Rassmussen (Mr. Evans), Nikki Griffin (Maggie), Tyler Steelman (Richard Evans), Sam Kindseth (Robert Evans), Ivan Djurovic (The Creature), Ron Rogge (Principal Sanders), Garrett Jones (Garrett), Walter Miranda (Walter), Griffin Kohout (Jim)

2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen / Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), Dolby Stereo 2.0 (English)
Subtitles: None; Extra Not Subtitled / Not Closed Captioned
Suggested Retail Price: $14.99 / Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5) / Black Keepcase in Cardboard Slipcover
Also available on Blu-ray ($20.99 SRP) and Amazon Instant Video

Buy Under the Bed from Amazon.com: DVD Blu-ray Instant Video

Horror seems like the genre that's most limited in terms of creativity. There is no shortage of comedic and dramatic stories to captivate, inspire, and make us laugh. Science fiction and fantasy are as vast as human imagination.
Many movies win us over by blending elements from different genres. But horror is more specific than all that, setting out purely to frighten and surprise viewers. Those narrow goals explain why remakes dominate the genre and why even most original horror movies remind us of past ones. Occasionally, a horror movie will hit on something clever: first-person found footage, for instance. And, several uses later, that design feels just as routine as more conventional scares.

Under the Bed, one of the many horror movies that will fly just below the radars of all but the most devoted of genre enthusiasts, doesn't attempt to turn over a new leaf, instead trying to mine an old source of fright for chills. If the title seems too perfect to be brand new, that's because it isn't, although the odds are that you're not familiar with the 1977 UK comedy, 1988 UK family film, or 2006 horror short bearing the same name.

This newest Under the Bed is written by Eric Stolze (no, not the red-haired actor Eric Stoltz) and directed by Steven C. Miller (no relation to any Miller you know). The two have a few years of TV and film credits under their belts and are young enough to appear on the rise, even if a big breakthrough isn't on the immediate horizon for either.

Hausman brothers Paulie (Gattlin Griffith) and Neal (Jonny Weston) are regularly visited by a monster in "Under the Bed."

Stolze and Miller's first and only collaboration to date opens with troubled teenager Neal (Jonny Weston) returning home to his family after two years of living with his Aunt Sarah.
Neal is presently battling some demons, the least of which may be cigarettes, a habit he's sort of trying to kick. The boy's hard-assed, foul-mouthed, widowed father Terry (Peter Holden) has recently remarried and the circumstances of his wife's death seem to involve Neal and a fire, a dark episode that prompted the youth's extended sabbatical.

Neal is excited to reconnect with his close, admiring kid brother Paulie (Gattlin Griffith), but the two boys have more than a playful nature and a yearning for their mother in common. Neither boy is eating or sleeping right. Each is being disturbed on a nightly basis by an otherworldly monster who turns up in the titular location in the bedroom they've taken turns holding. Though you suspect this antagonist is a metaphor for something else: the children's enduring grief, the challenges of adolescence, their mother's fiery end, or perhaps their Dad's bad attitude, it just appears to be a literal monster that for some reason is preying on these two brothers. Neal speculates it could be feeding on dead skin cells, a theory that could explain how the monster shows up at their next door neighbors on the climactic night the brothers sleep over there.

The film tries to establish some boundaries for the monster. If a light is on and the boys stay awake, their chances of being left alone improve. But the monster can still get to them and inflict serious harm. They don't turn to the police or a psychic medium to rid them of their aggressor. They just try to sort things out, shrugging off Dad's disbelief and hoping they can somehow outwit their unwanted visitor.

Probably the best thing that can be said about Under the Bed is that it doesn't feel derivative. That is a quality that pervades horror and makes many of the genre's entries forgettable and more or less interchangeable. Stolze's screenplay doesn't have gripping ideas or compelling characters, but at least they don't immediately remind you of another film. It's not scary as it wants to be (who among us doesn't need more than jump scares to be seriously unsettled these days?!), but it is involving enough and reasonably polished.

A year after its Canadian premiere, twenty-seven days after hitting the Internet, and eleven after supposedly beginning a very short and limited US theatrical engagement, Under the Bed hits DVD and Blu-ray today from XLrator Media bearing their Macabre banner.

This Dad (Peter Holden) wants his boys to grow up, then he arranges for them a sleepover with the kids next door. New stepmother Angela (Mussetta Vander, not completely hiding an accent) gets terrorized in bathrobe during a blackout.


The DVD's picture and sound are satisfactory, but no better than that. To someone accustomed to reviewing Blu-rays on a daily basis, the feature presentation's quality is clearly inferior. The 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer's frame occasionally lacks focus. The dialogue is crisp, which makes it slightly easier to overlook the DVD's decision to supply HDMI-inaccessible closed captioning rather than the easier,
more standard English subtitles.


Under the Bed's only real bonus feature is a trailer for Under the Bed (1:54).

The disc opens with auto-played, menu-inaccessible trailers for Saturday Morning Mystery, Inbred, and American Mary.

The static, silent main menu utilizes the cover art, while the two other submenus pull their imagery from elsewhere.

The insert-less keepcase is topped by a glossy slipcover repeating the artwork below.

Fog forms behind Neal (Jonny Weston) as he tells the neighbor kids why he started a fire that claimed his mother's life. Paulie and Neal are ready to ward off their nightly visitor with the power of flashlights.


I'm regularly amazed by horror movie fans' ability to be interested in and disappointed by small under-the-radar films. Under the Bed is one such movie seemingly destined for obscurity that instead will win some attention and probably disapproval from voracious customers, impulse buyers, and genre-minded renters. I must give Under some credit for not being just another horror movie, but I can't pretend that it did much for me. The concept isn't too fascinating, the jolts are largely ineffective, and the ending is stupid. Mercifully fast-paced at least, the movie is treated to a lackluster DVD that feels like a $3 value tops.

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Reviewed July 30, 2013.

Text copyright 2013 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2013 XLrator Media, Site B, and Through the Heart Productions.
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