Mild spoilers below:

The film has

Ghosts/spirits haunting the living.

If Supernatural is any indication, I believe the film is on topic, but I wanted to be sure.

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If it has supernatural elements, and they are real, or at least potentially real, then sure, it's on topic.

By "potentially real", I mean that those supernatual elements are treated as legitimate by the movie, and a casual viewer cannot tell that they are "obviously" faked, imagined, hallucinated, imagined, etc. For example, in the original-run Scooby Doo, cartoons all of the supernatural elements are clearly faked by the villain of the week, so that would be off-topic. (I think this might not be true anymore, either, but that's the best example I could come up with.)

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  • 1
    That example actually wasn't strictly true as of 1985, when the short-lived series "The Thirteen Ghosts of Scooby-Doo" premiered. Fortunately that series is pretty distinctly separate from previous Scooby-Doo cartoons, so we can safely partition off pre-1985 Scooby as off-topic. – recognizer Sep 9 '16 at 15:59

Yes, but with the usual proviso.

What Lies Beneath continues in a long tradition of "is it real or is it just psychosis?" ghost movies where the reality or non-reality of the supernatural elements is left up to the viewer.

As such, questions about the supernatural elements of the film are clearly and firmly on topic, whereas questions about other parts of the film would probably be best asked elsewhere, for example on Movies:SE.


The film was marketed as an "Exciting supernatural thriller", which would strongly indicate that the studio (at least) felt that the presence of ghosts was a given:

enter image description here

However the film's co-star feels that the supernatural bits were all in her mind

Q. So you don't think Michelle's character sees a ghost?

Harrison Ford: If you look at the film carefully, you will see that the ghost - the manifestation - can be seen as an effort by Michelle's sub-conscious mind to remind her of the events that she has repressed.

Harrison Ford - What Lies Beneath - BBC Interview

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  • Hmm, I feel like that's just Ford's opinion. I've seen the film a few times and never felt like the haunting was only in her imagination. I mean, (spoilers) the ghost/corpse even comes up and grabs Ford's ankle, drowning him. – RedCaio Sep 5 '16 at 20:58
  • @RedCaio: Or, did the falling mast disturb the negatively buoyant corpse, causing it initially float upwards, startling Ford, before sinking back down? Are we the audience seeing what actually happened, or are we seeing what Michelle's character - in a disturbed, hallucinogen state - thinks she sees? I'm for this being off topic. – Binary Worrier Sep 6 '16 at 9:24
  • @binaryworrier - Typically where we're unsure about the sf/f-content, we err on the side of caution, with the SF/F bit's being on-topic, and the main film not being so. – Valorum Sep 6 '16 at 9:57
  • Yeah . . . I think that's a mistake in this instance, but hey, I suppose millions of SciFi SE users can't be wrong. – Binary Worrier Sep 6 '16 at 10:03
  • "Does for bathtubs what Psycho did for showers!" That line just sounds so bizarre to me. – Thunderforge Sep 9 '16 at 18:42
  • @Thunderforge - For a film that purports to have Michelle Puffeifferr in the bath, it was suprisingly dull. I blame the cinematographer. – Valorum Sep 9 '16 at 18:44

I'm saying no because there's no actual evidence of a ghost (we could be seeing hallucinations caused by the protagonist's trauma-induced psychosis).

Everything in the movie can be explained by trauma, repressed memories and hallucinations.

In my opinion What Lies Beneath fails the is it Sci-Fi guidelines

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