Title – Underwater (2020)
Director – William Eubank (The Signal)
Cast – Kristen Stewart, Vincent Cassel, T.J Miller, John Gallagher Jr., Jessica Henwick
Plot – When their deep underwater exploration facility gets destroyed, a group of researchers and blue collar workers, including mechanic Norah (Stewart), discover they are not alone in the watery depths.
“You lose your sense of time in the dark”
Review by Eddie on 15/05/2020
In what will be an instantly familiar setup to viewers with any type of experience in survival horror/thrillers, Underwater’s undeveloped story and scare free delivery mean that William Eubank’s 80 million dollar budgeted affair is a waterlogged outing, bereft of unique ideas or character development.
Not interested in setting up any context to events we are witnessing or the characters we are asked to care about when their deep underwater station experiences a disastrous event, Eubank’s film gets stuck straight into things as Kristin Stewart’s Riply like (but far less interesting) mechanic Norah and her fellow crew members discover that being stuck at the bottom of the ocean is even worse when some nasty and bloodthirsty critters are down there with you.
There’s nothing overly original about the films setting, even if there are moments it appears as though it’s the perfect claustrophobic and eerie location for some horrific goodness but Eubank, whose previous films have been the small-scale Love and The Signal, appears incapable of maximising the opportunities presented to him, which includes the use of his well-respected leading lady.
Not the usual type of film Stewart has been getting around post-Twlight, with her usual dramatic/art-house pieces quite different to Underwater’s more commercially focussed modus operandi, Stewart gets little to do as Norah, who has the unenviable task of making the films narrative movements excitable, something the film is unable to do outside of its far more interesting final 10 minute stretch.
Surrounded by the capable but slumming it Vincent Cassel as the facilities captain and miscast comic T.J Miller as the films only attempt at not playing it po-faced Paul, Stewart and her co-stars can’t make the weak material their presented with worthwhile, with viewers left holding their breath awaiting the film to provide the thrills, chills and spills the plot constantly threatens.
Production wise it’s all there, the sets of the film feel lived in and Alien-lite and the creature design is quality stuff but not once in the film do we feel any true sense of built up dread or terror, exhausting the films nice atheistic and sound design well before the finish line, meaning Underwater runs on 0% oxygen for far too long to sustain life.
Final Say –
While not original by any stretch of the imagination, Underwater still squanders a potentially viable horror setting and set-up on a carelessly constructed narrative that is devoid of frights or character building, making this a soggy adventure unable to be saved.
1 ½ escape pods out of 5