Beneath the Darkness

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Beneath the Darkness
Film poster
Directed by Martin Guigui
Produced by Ronnie Clemmer
Scott Mednick
Written by Bruce Wilkinson
Starring Dennis Quaid
Tony Oller
Aimee Teegarden
Cinematography Massimo Zeri
Edited by Eric Potter
Release dates
  • October 22, 2011 (2011-10-22) (AFF)
  • January 6, 2012 (2012-01-06) (United States)
Running time
98 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $7 million
Box office $9,600[1]

Beneath the Darkness is an American teen thriller black comedy film directed by Martin Guigui, and starring Tony Oller, Dennis Quaid, Devon Werkheiser and Aimee Teegarden.


Ely Vaughn (Quaid) is a beloved native of a small Texas town with a dark secret. Formerly the star quarterback, now he's the local mortician. When Ely discovers that his wife Rosemary is cheating on him with the high school English teacher’s husband, David Moore, he makes sure they can’t do it again.

First, he kills Rosemary, but he doesn’t bury her body. Instead, he hides it in his house and dances with the body each night, as though she’s still alive. Second, he chases down her lover while he’s out jogging at night and buries him in Rosemary’s grave, alive.

Two years later, a group of high school kids think they see a ghost in Ely’s window. What they’re really seeing is Ely dancing with his wife’s body, but they don’t know that. They assume since Ely’s van is gone, that he’s not home. They dare each other to go inside and see what’s going on. The problem is that Ely is home and he’s pissed at the intrusion. They walk in on him after dancing with his wife and he blows his top, chasing them down the stairs and grabbing Danny before he can get away.

Travis rushes back inside just in time to see Ely shove Danny down the stairs and then stomp on his head until he’s crushed it. Of course, no one believes Travis. They all believe Ely, that it was an “accident”, and that Danny’s head was injured in the fall down the stairs.

But Travis and his girlfriend Abby are determined to get proof that they’re telling the truth, that Ely is not quite right in the head, and that he murdered Danny. This time when they break in, Ely knocks out Abby and hides her in a casket buried in the backyard. He shoots Travis and almost kills him. At the hospital, the doctor notifies the police and they keep Travis under “house arrest” until he calls Brian to come help him get out. He makes his way back to Ely’s house, but Ely catches him too and then takes him and Abby out to the cemetery to bury them alive. While Travis is digging their grave, at gunpoint, Abby is in the van getting loose.

Rather than running, she dresses in Rosemary’s clothes to help push Ely’s last bit of sanity over the edge. Travis and Abby knock Ely into the grave and bury him, then walk to town to get the Sheriff, However, Ely doesn’t die, he ends up in a very nice white-walled palace with bars on the window.



On November 19, 2010, Martin Guigui was named as the director and co-producer of the project. Guillermo Del Toro cast Dennis Quaid for the lead role of Ely on November 20, 2010. On November 25, 2010, Guigui announced via Facebook that pre-production had begun on the project, which is being financed by Sunset Pictures. On November 20, 2010, Tony Oller was cast for the lead role of Travis. TV Series star Devon Werkheiser was cast on November 21, and was joined one week later by actress Aimee Teegarden and American actor Brett Cullen. Filming began on November 22, 2010, in Austin, Texas, with other scenes being shot in Smithville, Texas.


The film had a limited theatrical release starting January 6, 2012. The film was released on DVD February 28, 2012, and became available on Netflix Instant Streaming the same day.[2]


The Hollywood Reporter published in its review that "Beneath the Darkness is a teens-in-trouble thriller with barely enough momentum to make it to the end credits" and that "it's clear nobody in the production has any interest [in making a pulpy fun movie]" and "the screenplay is too proud of its going-nowhere literary allusions".[3] The New York Post remarked, "Even Dennis Quaid’s uncharacteristic hamming as a mad mortician in a small Texas town can’t save this silly, scare-free horror film briefly haunting theaters en route to entombment on home video."[4]


  1. ^ "Beneath the Darkness – Box Office Data, DVD Sales, Movie News, Cast Information". The Numbers. Retrieved 2012-09-30. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ DeFore, John (1/6/2012). "Beneath the Darkness: Film Review". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2012-01-23. Dennis Quaid plays a mortician in a dull thriller set in Texas  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ Lumenick, Lou (January 5, 2012). "Beneath the Darkness". New York Post. Retrieved 2012-01-23. 

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