What Lies Beneath

What Lies Beneath

name = What Lies Beneath

caption = Theatrical release poster
director = Robert Zemeckis
producer = Steve Starkey,
Robert Zemeckis
Jack Rapke
writer = Sarah Kernochan,
Clark Gregg
starring = Harrison Ford,
Michelle Pfeiffer,
Diana Scarwid
music = Alan Silvestri
cinematography = Don Burgess
editing = Arthur Schmidt
distributor = - USA -
- non-USA -
20th Century Fox
released = July 21, 2000
runtime = 130 min.
country = United States
language = English
budget = ~ US$90,000,000
amg_id = 1:187127
imdb_id = 0161081
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26JKvBh3iKU

"What Lies Beneath" (2000) is a psychological horror film by film director Robert Zemeckis. It tells the story of a housewife who finds her home is haunted. The film stars Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer as "Norman" and "Claire" Spencer.

"Tagline:" He was the perfect husband until his one mistake followed them home.


Claire Spencer (Michelle Pfeiffer) enters a new phase of her life after her daughter leaves home. With her husband, renowned scientist Dr. Norman (Harrison Ford), Claire is now living in a remodelled lakeside home in Vermont that once belonged to Norman's scientist father. However, when Claire meets her new neighbour Mary (Miranda Otto), she learns how terrified Mary is of her husband Warren (James Remar). And when Mary suddenly disappears, clues lead Claire to suspect that she was murdered by her husband.

So when strange events start occurring in her house, Claire is certain that Mary's ghost is haunting her. But as the events get more and more mysterious, and Mary then turns up alive, Claire is forced to probe the events of Norman's past in order to learn who is really haunting them, and how to put the ghost to rest.

As it turns out the ghost haunting Claire is in fact the mistress of her husband, Norman. He killed her a year before and now she wants to communicate with Claire about the truth of what happened to her.After Norman finds out that Claire knows his secret he drugs her and tries to drown her in the bathtub. However she is able to pull the plug and thus drain the tub. She gets up and finds her husband downstairs, unconscious (after he had smashed his head on the bathroom sink).A struggle ensues and they end up driving off a bridge. The mistress' ghost drags Norman down with her and allows Claire to escape.

In an epilogue, Claire is seen walking in a cemetery, where she places flowers on the mistress's grave, but not on Norman's. A silhouette of her face can be seen as the scene fades to black.


*Michelle Pfeiffer as Claire Spencer
*Harrison Ford as Dr. Norman Spencer
*Diana Scarwid as Jody
*Miranda Otto as Mary Feur
*James Remar as Warren Feur
*Wendy Crewson as Elena
*Ray Baker as Dr. Stan Powell
*Micole Mercurio as Mrs. Frank
*Katharine Towne as Caitlin Spencer
*Amber Valletta as Madison Elizabeth Frank


*Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford were director Robert Zemeckis's first and only choices for the lead roles of Claire and Norman Spencer.
*Director Robert Zemeckis filmed "What Lies Beneath" while production on "Cast Away" was shut down; actor Tom Hanks had to lose weight and grow a beard for his character.

DVD release

"What Lies Beneath" was released on DVD on (January 30, 2001). The film was presented in anamorphic widescreen in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio.


*Commentary from director Robert Zemeckis
*HBO's First Look Behind-The-Scenes Featurette
*Production notes
*Detailed cast & filmmaker bios
*Original theatrical trailer


The film was rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for Terror/Violence, Sensuality and Brief Language.


The soundtrack to the film was released on (July 25, 2000) and featured the film's entire instrumental score.

Release and reaction

Budgeted at over $90,000,000, "What Lies Beneath" was released on July 21, 2000 and was met with mostly positive reviews. It opened #1 at the box office, grossing just under $30 million. It continued strongly throughout the summer of 2000, and ended up grossing over $155 million in the United States, and nearly $300 million worldwide.

Film critic Roger Ebert noted in his review that he felt the problem with Zemeckis' desire to direct a Hitchcock-ian film was to involve the supernatural, which he believes to be something Alfred Hitchcock would never have done [In the Rosemary's Baby DVD featurette, it is mentioned that the film was offered to Hitchcock, and he declined because it involved the supernatural] .

Director Zemeckis stated to Roger Ebert that he believed audiences wanted to know everything about a movie before they saw it, which is why the trailers for his year 2000 movies "What Lies Beneath" and "Cast Away" both revealed fundamental "spoilers" for the films. In the case of "What Lies Beneath", the trailer tells of Norman's betrayal, which is a twist that is not revealed in the film until after an hour of red herring mis-direction. Incidentally, "Cast Away", like "What Lies Beneath", is a co-production of DreamWorks and 20th Century Fox.

External links

*imdb title|id=0161081|title=What Lies Beneath

Box Office Leaders USA
before = "X-Men"
date = July 23
year = 2000
after = ""

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