Underground Lizard People is a 2011 American horror thriller film written and directed by Jared Cohn, produced by Traplight Media, distributed by R-Squared Films, as Cohn's second feature film.
The film was inspired by news reports from 1934 which spoke toward a pre-historic race of lizard people dwelling in old tunnels beneath the city of Los Angeles. The article claimed that beneath its streets "lies another city remembered only in obscure Indian legends, an underground world built by a strange race that vanished five thousand years ago."
Based on (alleged) actual eye witness accounts, a group of five New York film students wish to make a documentary. Led by director Jason Watts (Clint Byrne), camera-man Jack (Colin Walker, sound-girl Lynda (Lauren Klemp), 'executive producer' Cheryl (Courtney Hammond), and Jason’s girlfriend Rachael (Caitlin Gold) explore the "Banning Tunnels", long-abandoned railway tunnels under New York, full of graffiti and homeless people, to discover the truth behind a series of mysterious disappearances claimed to be due to the urban legend of a race of cannibalistic lizard people living beneath the streets. After a series of run-ins with some of the tunnel's human inhabitants, including the childlike Roy and the mysterious Chip (Jarded Cohn), the group soon finds the truth to the stories by discovering a forgotten civilization of half human, half lizards. The young film crew soon come under attack by the creatures and find that they have themselves become lost in the maze of tunnels beneath the city.
MJ Simpson gave the film a "B+" and offered that even with the film giving an impression of being a student project, it was worth watching. He complemented the directing and acting, and praised the film as being "atmospheric, creepy and slickly professional". While the concept of delving into dark tunnels plot was not particularly original, the film offered "generally sympathetic, rounded, believable characters, even if what they’re up to is a bit dumb." He found the film protagonist's lack of preparation unbelievable, as none seemed ready for subterranean urban exploration. He pointed out the ridiculousness of character Rachael "wearing pumps and a short, strapless dress", and how the character of Linda was shocked that the city's abandoned underground tunnels might contain rats, and that titular leader Jason had not briefed his film team beforehand and waited until the group was underground that he spoke toward legends of lizard people. Even with such flaws, Simpson wrote the "dialogue is good and the character conflict well-handled." He wrote that while the film [sic] "not The Descent, I’ll give you that, but it’s a lot, lot better than The Blair Shit Project, for example."
Dread Central revealed that the director co-wrote the film's screenplay with Ed Erdalac, and that the film alleges to be a true story of a modern exploration of creatures living below the streets of Los Angeles, concluding "Underground Lizard People looks like a feature-length episode of Animal Planet’s Lost Tapes".
io9 wrote of Underground Lizard People, "Any movie with a title like that is OK by me. Just lays everything out there for you, without trying to dress it up with fancy generic titles like Totally Dark or Stuff Beneath Us or Shadowy Things. And lizard people are automatically awesome - and so are underground civilizations."