Ever since I saw that Underwater is actually being made, I tried to avoid any updates or clips, determined to jump into it without any preconceived notions. The reasons for this were simple: right from the get-go, it was obvious that this is going to be a mix of Alien and The Abyss, both of which I have watched countless times. And this is not all. Set on the research and drilling facility on the bottom of the Mariana trench, this was also a water movie. And finally, Underwater is also a real-time flow movie, something I realized only when I started watching it. So, as you can see, it hit a lot of my favorite tags and it looked really promising. On the other hand, I was completely certain that it won’t come close to those titans and that it will be at best a watchable affair. I think this is a key to enjoying this movie, just not treat it like an AAA blockbuster that’s supposed to blow your mind.
Not to mention the fact that the stars of the show were Kristen Stewart and T.J. Miller. However, I must report that Underwater turned out to be a pretty solid science fiction movie with a couple of gimmicks that ultimately pushed it towards a solid eight. I and Kristen got off on the wrong foot with her abysmal debut in Twilight. However, over the years, she slowly started to win me over, something that started with American Ultra and finished with this movie where she was phenomenal. I knew that it would be so awkward and cringy to try to replicate the strength and especially sexuality that Sigourney Weaver had in Alien but she pulled it off. Right down to the panties. The rest of the cast was okay, even T.J. was bearable with that forced comic relief role.
Welcome to Kepler 822, a research and drilling facility located at the very bottom of the ocean, near the Mariana Trench. With a depth of 10,984 meters (36,037 ft), this is a strange and inhospitable place filled with strange creatures. Norah is part of the crew working aboard this station and we find her just as she’s waking up for her shift. She was preparing for just another day at work when everything started shaking and falling apart. The worst thing that could happen, happened. An earthquake has hit the facility and she along with other survivors must get to the surface, fast…
With a short and sweet running time of just under ninety minutes, Underwater is a flawed thrill ride that will make you re-watch Alien, The Abyss, Life or Sphere. I personally liked the mushy visuals that obscured the full scope of this drilling operation. It gave off a realistic vibe that was compensated with an over-saturated visual style. Since we are following characters and their reactions in real-time as they are trying to get to the surface, there’s a sense of impending doom and urgency that is only amplified by narrow corridors and collapsing sections of the mega-structure. I think it would be better if they abandoned character development completely and just focused on actual events, this way humor is not really funny and the stories behind each character seem forced and frivolous.
The third act was great with an ending that I really liked, showing off just how much potential this movie had. And yes, there are Lovecraftian elements here. I think in about 10 to 20 years it will become popular the same as those cult classics from the eighties. Again, I am pretty biased when it comes to the above-mentioned tags so I liked the movie. And I have to admit that I found Kristen both sexy and engaging. There, I’ve said it. This could have been another cult classic, especially when you compare to The Meg, a movie that’s also set in an underwater facility near the Mariana Trench. Not to mention the $50-80 million budget. In the end, you should approach Underwater as a fun, slightly sexual eighties romp through the underwater world populated by dangerous creatures. enjoy.
Director: William Eubank
Writers: Brian Duffield, Adam Cozad
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Vincent Cassel, T.J. Miller, Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher Jr., Mamoudou Athie, Fiona Rene, Gunner Wright