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What Lies Beneath Ending Explained: What Happens in ‘What Lies Below’?

A 2000 American supernatural horror-thriller starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer, What Lies Beneath is directed by Robert Zemeckis and stars Ford and Pfeiffer as a haunting marriage.

First film from Zemeckis’ ImageMovers production firm. This year’s tenth-highest grossing film opened in 2,813 North American theatres to $291 million in worldwide box office receipts. However, it was nominated for three Saturn Awards despite receiving poor reviews.


  • Professor and scientist Dr. Norman Spencer is played by Harrison Ford in the film.
  • Claire Spencer, Norman’s wife, is played by Michelle Pfeiffer.
  • Diana Scarwid portrays Claire’s best friend, Jody, a mystic.
  • Mary Feur, Norman and Claire’s next-door neighbour, is played by Miranda Otto.
  • James Remar portrays Warren Feur, Norman and Claire’s neighbour and Mary’s husband, in this season’s episode of The Walking Dead.
  • Towne plays Caitlin Spencer, the stepdaughter of both Norman and Claire Spencer.
  • Ray Baker as Dr. Stan Powell
  • A therapist Claire visits at Norman’s insistence, played by Joe Morton, is Dr. Drayton.
  • Amber Valletta portrays Madison Elizabeth Frank, a young woman with whom Norman had an affair, who was found killed in her apartment.
  • Elena is played by Wendy Crewson.


Explained: Why Claire Was Haunted in The Ending of What Lies Beneath

What Lies Below' on Netflix: That Baffling Ending, Explained | Glamour


Claire (Pfeiffer) is haunted by a female ghost throughout What Lies Beneath, and at first thinks it’s her neighbor, who vanished following a fight with her husband.

When the neighbor returns, it becomes clear that this haunting is far more personal than first thought. Maddie Elizabeth Frank (Amber Valetta) is the ghost of a young woman who was having an affair with Claire’s husband, a professor called Norman (Harrison Ford).

Norman and Claire’s cheerful suburban living was merely a mask concealing a dark reality, as even a seemingly idyllic marriage was not enough to prevent Norman from cheating on his wife.

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Claire, on the other hand, is quick to surmise that Norman was somehow connected to Madison’s death because she is now a ghost. To be fair, Norman is convincingly played by Ford, especially when Claire returns home and finds him on the verge of taking his own life.

This all ends in failure, as Norman killed Madison and deposited her body in a lake, which explains the haunting episodes. Student Madison, who was involved in an extramarital relationship with Norman, had threatened to notify the college’s dean about it.

Norman’s evil acts have been uncovered, so he attempts to murder Claire as well, but his plot fails and the couple finds up in the lake, leading Madison to take revenge on her killer.

What Lies Beneath’s ending once again reaffirms the idea that secrets tend to be revealed, and crimes tend to be uncovered, and attempting to (sometimes literally) bury them simply leads to larger issues for everyone concerned.

What’s the Story Behind What Lies Below?

What Lies Beneath (2000) Movie Ending Explained [Spoiler Alert]

Liberty “Libby” Wells, an adolescent returning from her summer camp in the Adirondacks, is the protagonist of this short story.

she returns to her mother’s lake cottage to find that Michelle (Mena Suvari), her mother, has a new attractive lover named John, whom she had no idea about (Trey Tucker). In an attempt to win Libby over, John gifts her with a bracelet adorned with a Navajo “stone of life,” which is said to represent the goddess of fertility.

To help freshwater organisms adapt to saltwater environments, John is a “aquatics geneticist.” At one point, John chokes on seawater as an example of his studies. Hmmm.

The lake’s orange glow awakens Libby in the middle of the night, and she sees John heading into it. She rushes inside her mother’s room to rouse her, but the door is locked.

In the meantime, John claims he was sleepwalking when she goes out to investigate. Libby, in a panic, tries to call her best friend, but the connection is broken. However, SMS continue to be sent and her best friend is summoned immediately.

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There’s also a possibility that Michelle is pregnant. She’s getting progressively ill. One night, when Libby and her boyfriend go out for a drink, she sees someone who looks just like John with another lady.

Once they’ve returned to the house, Libby spends time with her best friend Marley while John tends to his mother’s needs.

In light of John’s sexual misdeeds, Marley makes the decision to confront John and Michelle. Libby woke up one morning to find Marley gone from her bed. Despite John’s actions, Michelle doesn’t think he did anything wrong.

Do You Want to Know What Happens in “What Lies Below?”

What Lies Below Ending: Who is John Smith? What Happens to Libby's Mother?

“A socially awkward 16-year-old [who] meets her mother’s fiancé, a man whose charm, intelligence and attractiveness appears too flawless to be human” is how the synopsis describes the film.

Whatever you choose to make of it, we’ll break it down a bit more because, as we all know, this movie is more complex than it appears on the surface.

In What Lies Below, Michelle and Libby, a 16-year-old girl, are introduced to a man named John. Only that he has emerged from the ocean and is wreaking havoc on the women’s lives is known throughout this film.

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Is he a fan of living in the water? Because neither of them realised, Michelle only thinks of John as the 30-year-old with the beard and a love for Speedos, and he doesn’t even know it.

At the first, Libby seems open to meeting the new man in her mother’s life, but things gradually deteriorate between the two of them.

John rapidly establishes his lack of trustworthiness with his blood compulsions and shower stalking. To make matters even more complicated, John has imprisoned Michelle and conceived her daughter, whom Libby tries to save from his clutches at the end of the film.

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