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I hate to repeat myself, but I’m going to say it again: If you don’t have a halfway decent onscreen monster, your monster movie is doomed. Doomed I tell you! In the case of Beneath Loch Ness, the best that director and co-writer Chuck Comisky can manage with Nessie, the ill-tempered plesiosaur that occasionally wreaks havoc on local fishermen and scuba-diving scientists, is some dreadful animation that would shame a high school computer lab.

While seeking photographic evidence of prehistoric critters, a team of researchers in the employ of a cable TV adventure network loses its leader down a freshly opened trench at the bottom of the loch. Enter the team’s former honcho, Case Howells (Brian Wimmer) who arrives fresh from the Middle East to wrangle the beast, soon followed by his ex-wife Elizabeth (Lysette Anthony) a pushy producer from the network. The cartoon creature kills some more people so Howells teams up with Blay (Patrick Bergin—say whatever happened to him?) an obsessed local who lost his son to the monster several years before. In his kilt, William Wallace makeup and Captain Ahab harpoon, Blay is easily the most compelling thing about Beneath Loch Ness. That, and some arresting footage of rural Scotland.

The animated Loch Ness Monster here is a thing of no scale or substance—so how could it frighten anyone? Even the guys sweating their asses off in rubber monster suits at Toho Studios understand this. Look, if I want cartoon entertainment I’ll stick with The Venture Brothers or Metalocalypse, thanks. Let this one return to the depths from whence it came.

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