Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Murky: "Beneath Loch Ness" (2002)

I finally got my DVD player, and like an idiot, I rented this.

A famed scientist is lost in a dive in Loch Ness when an earthquake opens up a huge crack in the bottom of the infamous lake. His protege, Case (Brian Wimmer), is called to Loch Ness to complete the mentor's research and deliver a television special to the Expedition Channel and his ex-wife/TV producer Elizabeth (Lysette Anthony).

A few pranksters at the lake decide to put a fake monster in the water and videotape it for their website. A real monster happens along and kills one of the crew.

(Paste plot of "Jaws" here, or keep reading review)

The local constable refuses to close the lake since it is tourist season. Case and his crew try to sit on the monster story until they have more evidence. Cue Blay (Patrick Bergin, playing Robert Shaw's role). He lost a child to the monster years ago, and now hangs around drinking and planning to get the monster himself. Fishermen and Druids get attacked by the special effect, and the constable still won't close the beaches, er, lake. A smaller creature washes ashore, and everyone but our heroic scientists assume this is the monster. In all actuality, the earthquake let an even larger predator into the lake, and Blay and Case find themselves underwater, armed with explosives, and running out of oxygen in the film's bored finale.

DVD is a wonderful technology. You can see crystal clear pictures. You can also spot a pixelated computer generated special effect a mile away. The monster itself is not all that bad, looking like a dragon. However, Comisky insists on computer generating shots that should have been done on location for that extra buck or two. There are terrible shots of a night time fireworks display, and even Elizabeth matted into a train station sequence. These are really weak and induced laughter.

The cast is nothing special. Case is unshaven and heroic, and Wimmer sounds exactly like Kevin Costner. Elizabeth quickly becomes a pain in the butt. The constable mostly stands around and refuses the requests of these idiot scientists...watching him reminded me of trying to get my two year old to eat peas. Case's crack crew of divers are nobodies, except for sexy Julie (Lysa Apostle) who has some body and shows it in a wet T-shirt for a too quick instance. The film is not violent or gory or scary.

Patrick Bergin, who deserves a better career than this, does his best with a clicheed role. Unfortunately, the film makers try to make him "funny" and give him "Braveheart"-type war paint in his final scenes, negating any seriousness he may have brought in to this slight film.

Despite Apostle and a couple of good special effects, "Beneath Loch Ness" is beneath most viewers. I knew I should have grabbed those Chaplin discs instead. (* *) out of five stars.