Despite all the modern monsters created in the minds of authors today, there is something about those horrid creatures we have been afraid of, as it seems, since the dawn of time. Atrocities who’s existence is woven into the fabric of humanity since times long passed. The monster under the bed is one of those vile creatures that came into superstitious existence probably shortly after the first human raised a bedstead on legs above the floor and thereby created it’s living space. Like the bogeyman who moved in behind the world’s first closet door was installed, it has haunted children ever since. But dragging these creatures out of the dark recesses they inhabit can be tricky – for the filmmaker as much as for his characters.
Steven C. Miller’s urban nightmare tale ‘Under the Bed’ tells the story of two brothers who take on the fight against a very real monster that lives under their bed. Their overbearing father does not believe either his son’s accounts of the creature and explanations for the weird things that happen in the house, nor the existence of the monster itself. While the boy’s stepmother is caught in the middle and tries to keep the family together, while at the same time forming a relationship with the boys, things escalate and start heading for disaster.
The film begins at a very slow pace, heavy with dialogue that pieces together each character’s backstory, to only slowly pick up speed. It has it’s poltergeist moment which seems almost comical for it does not tie into the rest of the plot. Until the climax at the very end, the film alternates between dramatic, tension filled confrontations between family members, and the boy’s being threatened by the monster under their bed.
After having watched ‘Under the Bed’, and without wanting to spoil it for you, we can not help but feel there should be more to the story than meets the eye, more than is actually presented on screen. Something that should be elaborated on rather than vaguely hinted at throughout the just under 90 minutes of narrative, so vaguely it remains obscure. Like many ancient monsters and creatures of fear, also the monster under the boy’s bed owes it’s physical existence to circumstances that exist in the minds of those who feel threatened by it. The creature is born of a fear impossible to overcome in one’s mind, pressures unbearable, only possible to face and deal with in a real shape.
Having glimpsed what it could be, and by all means should be, and seen what it is, we think the film ‘Under the Bed’ falls short of our expectations. The camera work is solid, editing is well executed with an appropriate sound design, and the actors deliver convincing performances across the board. The creature itself is, while always subject to taste of the beholder, well done. It is the narrative that fails to convince us, the part of the narrative that is not told – and could have made this film so much better.
‘Under the Bed’ is available on DVD and Blu-ray in the U.S. on July 30, 2013.