The Beyond (1981) Review

beyond

RATING: 1.5/5

A woman inherits a hotel. Not knowing the dark secrets that are hidden inside.

Have you ever seen a movie that just left you…confused? Contrived? Flabbergasted? A movie that made you go…huh? This was that.

The opening of the film was pretty good I’ll say. It was shot in sepia tone and the lack of music made me intrigued. It set the entire mood well. Finally, once the opening credits and main theme appeared, it got me hooked. I was looking forward to what this film was going to unfold. Well…I got it. Kind of. Sort of. In a way.

Along with the main theme that played in the beginning credits, the rest of the music I enjoyed. It often provided a hellish and enchanting feel that perfectly fitted throughout.

The cinematography was good. There were many long, wide, and close-up shots. It was all over the place, but it fits with the surreal/dream-like atmosphere. Especially with the close-up shots of the character of Emily and her blind eyes.

Speaking of the surreal atmosphere, it was also something I found quite interesting. This was the main aspect of the film that made this a WTF movie. Now there were other things that made the whole experience a WTF, but they were for the opposite reasons which I’ll go into later. But the surreal tone really gave the film a dream-like tone which was cool. Sometimes there would be times where a couple of people would walk in the dark and eerie/spooky fog would roll-in to add to the surreal effect. The basement setting was nice to look at. In fact, the whole hotel setting felt like a haunted house.

The gore in the film was grisly, in all the right ways. There were many eye gauges, ear tearing, and many other horrible acts that a gore fan would certainly love. The zombie make-up and their look were nicely done.

That’s the positives. Everything else…well, it was something.

A majority of the acting in the movie was laughably bad. None of the people give a believable performance. None of them were given much depth or screentime to really latch on to. I will say the only interesting character was Emily, but that is not saying much. There was a girl that was introduced in the hospital and the movie doesn’t do anything with her. She appeared in the beginning and climax. No explanation for her importance. That goes along with a couple other characters.

The dialogue was laughably bad as well. It was pretty cliche and it wasn’t all that thought-provoking.

Pacing in the movie was all over the place. There would be times where scenes would go fast or way too slow. There was a scene where a man was getting attacked by spiders. At first, it was kind of cool and bloody, but it got old and tiresome rather quickly. The climax in the hospital went on for a bit too long too. Though I do have to say it was pretty hilarious to see the character of John McCabe, shooting at the zombies in the torso and head. Even after realizing that shooting them in the head worked, he still persisted in shooting the zombies in the chest.

My biggest complaint about the movie was the narrative structure. If someone were to chop up almost every scene and place them in there own order, it would make just about as much sense as the final product. Scenes in the movie just happen. They happen with no clever segway or lead-in to the next. Because of this, no development for the characters or build-up to any horrific action occurred. Though it was pretty fascinating to witness.

Maybe that was the directors’ (Lucio Fulci) envision for the movie. Make it all nonsensical like a dream. In fact, that was what John Thonen, writer for the sci-fi magazine “Cinefantasique,” said. That the whole movie felt like a “fever dream.” If that was the intention, I will say that Fulci succeeded in this. But for me, I was hoping for something more constructed.

By the way, why does Emily play the movies’ music within the movie on the piano?

Once again, this was a very interesting film to watch. Is it so bad its good? There were elements of it sure. There were some good things to experience in here. But this was a weird and hodgepodge of a movie. I would actually recommend this film for sure. It will leave you asking many questions once that confusing ending pops up.