It is not uncommon in the action, horror, and scifi genres to see an ode-to-the-classics homage film. Horror, more than any other, has been devoted to this craft of late, pouring forth remakes and satires by the barrel full. Most of the remakes have fallen short, while some of the satires have hit their mark. Some of the better films, however, have been in this vein. The homage films of horror, in which they pull from a particular style or period of the genre, have been rather successful and well-received by critics and movie patrons alike. Sometimes they can go a little too far, however, and rather than improving on the genre, the films latch onto the campiness like a leech and succeed only in reminding us of the strong-smelling cheese of the decade they are pulling from.
Under the Bed was a film somewhere in between, establishing its homage to 80’s child-themed/adult-oriented horror, while never breaking away from the screwy plots and acting that made those movies so niche that they strive to grow on the backs of a select group of cult followers. The film’s overuse of the fog machine and terrible dialogue recall the wrong moments from 80’s horror to the point that you question whether or not it is a satire.
The effects were enjoyable, with our creature as practical as they come, both in execution and concept. Its short-lived screen time fails to properly balance with the weak script and acting. But again, it’s difficult to tell how purposeful it is. The young stars weren’t so poor that you were desperate to mute the TV whenever they spoke, but you’d be digging in the cushions for the remote the second the dad speaks a line. His presence often immediately removes you from the film (SPOILERS) until his eventual gruesome demise that had me cheering in more ways than one.
This film had the appearance of being something special, but just missed the mark. Despite my harsh words, the film has an entertaining value to it that seems to somehow out-quantify its quality. It’s almost so bad it’s good, just like the films it emulates. And perhaps that’s its flaw, it wasn’t quite bad enough to feel purposeful when it is bad, which makes those scenes all the more prevalent and infectious to the rest of the movie.