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Beneath the Darkness (DVD Review)

28 Jan, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Prebook 1/31/12; Street 2/28/12
$27.97 DVD, $29.97 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for some violence and language.
Stars Dennis Quaid, Tony Oller, Aimee Teegarden, Devon Werkheiser, Brett Cullen.

Often when a recognizable ‘A’-list actor appears in a low-budget, decidedly non-arthouse film, the writing is on the wall. His or her box office appeal may have dried up.

In Beneath the Darkness, however, actor Dennis Quaid is getting the last laugh playing a disturbed mortician in aptly named Smithville, Texas.

The 58-year-old hardbody veteran of films such as Breaking Away, The Right Stuff and The Big Easy gets to sidetrack his usual aw-shucks characters and channel an inner Jack Nicholson from The Shining and Anthony Perkins in Psycho.

Quaid plays Ely Vaughn, a nerdy loner taken to smoking electronic cigarettes and wearing dorky vests after his pretty blonde wife passed away two years before. At the local high school, requisite misfit Travis (Tony Oller), who failed to intervene when his sister was abducted by alien ghosts as a child (yeah, whatever), together with an indifferent love interest cheerleader (Aimee Teegarden, who co-produced) and two other friends take to spying on Vaughn to see if he indeed dances nights in front of the window with a woman — as if anyone would care.

Of course, that woman is the corpse of his ex-wife. And so the madness begins.

Despite the tension and sophistication of a “Scooby-Doo” mystery, Darkness isn’t entirely pointless. Quaid makes the most of it with entertaining wild facial expressions, laughs and grimaces. The actor and his sideline band, The Sharks, even sing a few songs (not bad, either) on the soundtrack.

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