Mixed or average reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 35
  2. Negative: 4 out of 35
  1. 83
    As it unwinds, What Lies becomes both masterful and preposterous.
  2. A classy supernatural lady-in-distress thriller.
  3. A few scenes indulge in overstated hokum or thriller clichés, but Pfeiffer is first-rate and several sequences are suspenseful enough to deserve that overused adjective, Hitchcockian.
  4. 75
    An uncommonly playful fright machine -- a fun house factory of scares.
  5. 75
    If you're able to check your brain at the popcorn stand, you'll stand a much better chance of enjoying this crowd pleaser.
  6. Goes Hitchcock one better by imagining what it would be like if the master had the advantage of digital technology.
  7. Bears the weight of too many genres jostling for screen time.
  8. 75
    It's some scary fun to watch.
  9. 70
    You feel you've been both a little creeped out and vigorously entertained. Its showmanship comes through in the clutch.
  10. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    There's a great, Hitchcockian suspense sequence in a bathtub.
  11. Reviewed by: Emanuel Levy
    A thriller that tries aggressively, but not entirely successfully, to deliver the goods of three genres -- suspense, supernatural and horror.
  12. Reviewed by: Other (Specify)
    Assume that viewers are too hungry for mindless thrills to care whether dead characters spring back to life or live ones change their personalities according to the needs of the moment.
  13. 67
    It's a kinder, gentler "Tales From the Crypt" that, in the end, is neither kind nor gentle.
  14. Regardless of how cheated out of a full-bodied motion picture you feel, you're still left with the year's sickest bathroom humor.
  15. Until the last 15 minutes, What Lies Beneath is a well-paced maze that earns every gasp from its audience.
  16. Reviewed by: Gemma Files
    An unexpectedly adult emotional rollercoaster with some very cold and unsettling things to say about men, women, marriage, and the lies we so often tell each other.
  17. 50
    Startlingly shallow even for a summer movie.
  18. 50
    Lacking a smarter screenplay, it milks the genuine skills of its actors and director for more than it deserves, and then runs off the rails in an ending more laughable than scary.
  19. There is one good, legitimate scare in Robert Zemeckis' quasi-ghost thriller What Lies Beneath, and that's just not enough for a movie that lasts more than two hours.
  20. Dumb, dumb, dumb - borrowing scare tactics from Hitchcock and other suspense masters, but forgetting basic story.telling essentials such as character development and logical exposition.
  21. 50
    Never reaches much beyond the surface, and what lies there is all too predictable.
  22. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Ford and Pfeiffer deliver craftsmanlike work, but the film steadily unravels as Zemeckis tries to ratchet up the suspense.
  23. A picture sufficiently shallow that you'll discover everything that lies beneath it well before the end.
  24. 50
    This slow, derivative chiller (which lifts liberally from "Ghost Story," "Rear Window" and "A Stir of Echoes") wastes far too much time on red herrings and telegraphs its plot points with painfully obvious dialogue.
  25. 50
    The scares are Hichcock hand-me-downs.
  26. Suggest a Clintons-at-home scenario for 2001 -- haunted by the ghosts of dalliances past.
  27. Reviewed by: Jeff Giles
    A slick but surprisingly empty genre movie that builds to a not particularly shocking shock.
  28. Reviewed by: Robert Horton
    This impeccable ghost story is utterly old-fashioned, a straightforward suspenser with no twists.
  29. 40
    Glazes over faster than a Krispy Kreme doughnut, and neither is very flavorful after sitting around for a while.
  30. 40
    Sparse and implausible screenplay.
  31. 30
    At once illogical and insultingly stupid, filled with dead-end twists and the sort of dialogue that makes a mockery of actual adult relations.
  32. Reviewed by: John Hartl
    Loses touch with its characters.
  33. What Lies Beneath is my head on the movie theater floor, snoozing through this film.
  34. Feels more planned than passionate, scary at points but unconvincing overall.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 40 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 13
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 13
  3. Negative: 4 out of 13
  1. Feb 4, 2013
    What lies beneath? Definitely the most impressive and comprehensive collection of cliches, nonsense absurdities and boring moments ever assembled in this pretentious couldn't-possibly-be-slower film. Nothing happens for the first 90 minutes. Pfeiffer wanders in her home trying to look troubled, has pointless encounters with neighbors, plays some ouija with a friend and from time to time exchanges with Ford some dull dialogue that sounds anything but realistic. And when filming nothing seems to have reached it's limits, well, you just get some more. The final twist doesn't come as a surprise -remember, you had 90' to try and guess it out, nothing was happening on the screen- and the final confrontation is sooooo ludicrous that it keeps me wondering if it has been stolen from the Scary Movie franchise. But surprisingly, I actually rather enjoyed the ending. It gets hysterical as every step seems to have been written under the strict rule of "of all options my characters have, what would be the least logical or probable?" This pure overdose of nonsense situations gets really funny, and comes as a nice and more than welcomed frustration relief after sitting through nearly two hours of pretentious pseudo hitchcokian homage. (I know I got Sir Alfred's last name spelled wrong, but it keeps being deleted by some poorly encoded "Politically Correct" protection stuff that doesn't seem to stand the second syllable of Hitchco**) Full Review »
  2. Jan 28, 2011
    A smart thriller with brilliant acting from Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer. Definitively one of my favorites. While focusing on the problems of an apparently normal relationship, "What Lies Beneath" has some original scary moments and much suspense. Full Review »
  3. Aaron.
    Aug 30, 2007
    Above average (average horror flick) in terms of cinematography, acting, and a very effective score. And there are some great chilling moments. But it gets pretty ridiculous pretty quick. Full Review »