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Popcorn Fall

Popcorn Pictures

Reviewing the best (and worst) of horror, sci-fi and fantasy since 2000

  • Andrew Smith

The Evil Beneath Loch Ness (2001)

"Sixty feet of prehistoric terror!"


Researchers on Loch Ness think that they have finally found the fabled Loch Ness Monster. However, when people start to die mysteriously around the Loch, they come to realise that Nessie is the least of their problems.


To say that it's one of the most widely-recognised mysteries of the world, the Loch Ness Monster has been given a relatively wide berth by the horror genre. You'd think that the idea of an aquatic dinosaur living in a lake in the middle of Scotland would be the ideal material for a decent creature feature flick but cinematic depictions of Nessie had been few and few between in comparison to other cryptids like Bigfoot or Chupacabra. In fact, I can only think of two genre pieces (the recent Sy Fy flick Loch Ness Terror and an earlier one called The Loch Ness Horror) - not counting Ted Danson's gushy family film, Loch Ness. With Nessie films being in short supply, one would at least hope that the few films about it are actually decent. But despite a cast of familiar faces, The Evil Beneath Loch Ness will do nothing to change that under-representation.

For a start, can you really have a proper film about Loch Ness when it wasn't even shot there? The Evil Beneath Loch Ness was filmed at a lake in California, poorly doubling for the Scottish Highlands. As local landmarks such as Urquahart Castle are part of the legend of Nessie, then surely some effort could have been made to incorporate them into the film. A second unit seems to have taken some token shots of a Scottish loch to scatter around the film but this isn't the real deal. The problem that the Californian location is vastly different to that of Scotland is emphasised with the different vegetation on show and the fact that it's just way brighter and sunnier than Scotland. Where's the murky, grey skies? Where's the fog? I know that Scotland isn't like that all year around but it's the sort of images we conjure up in our heads when we think of the Highlands.

But not only does the film skimp on the 'Loch Ness' part of the title, it also skimps on the 'beneath' part of the title as it doesn't look like any of it was filmed underwater. The scenes we get from beneath the surface look like they were filmed on a soundstage with the actors moving in slow motion. Slow seems to be a recurring theme though as the film is deathly sluggish and there's a lot of exposition and unnecessary sub-plots bubbling over. It takes way too long for the monster to get down to business and even then, the kills are few and far between. In fact the monster is hardly seen, despite the blatantly obvious twist mid-way through the film. The same CGI shot of the monster is re-used over and over again but from different directions to give you the illusion that what you're seeing is new footage. It's about all you'll see of the monster as it's not on screen for long, which is probably for the best as it looks ropey when you do see any of it. When it does attack people, the scenes are shot so frantically that its hard to see what is going on.

Patrick Bergin gets top billing but doesn't show up until half-way through and even then he just does a feeble imitation of Quint from Jaws. He gives some half-baked back story about how the monster killed his son and then for the final hunt, he dresses up in blue war paint and a kilt like Mel Gibson did in Braveheart. But the daft thing is that he's only going underwater in a wet suit so all of the ridiculous get-up is quickly covered over. Vernon Wells, the campy bad guy from Commando, pops up as the local Scottish constable despite the fact that he has an Australian accent. With the lack of a town mayor or any form of civic governance, Wells' fulfils the necessary role of being the one who wants to keep the lake open to tourists to save the local economy. I was wondering where they were going to cram that old chestnut into proceedings!

Brian Wummer makes for a damp squib of a male lead and Lysette Anthony co-stars as his ex-wife/TV producer boss. Their bickering is just one of many of the unnecessary sub-plots that I mentioned earlier on. Coupled with another side story about some people trying to create a hoax monster and it's clear that the script is full of these human plots which are designed to pad out the time and avoid anything remotely expensive.... or exciting. The Evil Beneath Loch Ness commits the cardinal sin of filmmaking which is to make a boring, tedious film that is difficult to sit through such is the dearth of action and entertainment.


Final Verdict

The Evil Beneath Loch Ness does the legendary monster a great disservice. Featuring weak special effects, being overly talky and with a chronic lack of action and excitement, its probably a good thing that this thing wasn't filmed on location as everyone associated with Loch Ness can forget about this blemish and pretend it never happened.


The Evil Beneath Loch Ness

Director(s): Chuck Comisky

Writer(s): Shane Bitterling (screenplay), Chuck Comisky (story), Justin Stanley (screenplay)

Actor(s): Patrick Bergin, Lysette Anthony, Brian Wimmer, Lysa Apostle, Adria Dawn, Vernon Wells, David Andriole

Duration: 96 mins


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