Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
The Golden Age of Disney Animation comes to an end with 'Bambi' - Daniel explores the classic in a new Ink & Paint!x
review, Underwater, Underwater, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Kristen Stewart, T.j. Miller, Vincent Cassel, John Gallagher Jr, Jessica Henwick, Mamoudou Athie, Gunner Wright, William Eubank, Action, Drama, Horror, Thriller film rating

UNDERWATER

★★★

A SOLID SUBAQUATIC MONSTER MASH

THEATRICAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Jake Watt
19th January 2020

William Eubank ('Love', 'The Signal') is a director whose previous two science fiction films could be summed up thusly: "surprisingly good, given the low-budget". 'Underwater' is his third film and first big money effort but has languished on the shelf since 2017 due to the Fox/Disney merger - it's actually the final film to be released under the 20th Century Fox name before Walt Disney Studios changed its name to 20th Century Studios.

The film's storyline is quickly unspooled over the first 15 minutes: Tian Industries intends to drill seven miles to the bottom of the Mariana Trench for resources, a large earthquake hits, and a section of the Kepler 822 Station starts to suffer a catastrophic breach from the pressure.

A mechanical engineer named Norah (Kristen Stewart) and a station crewman named Rodrigo (Mamoudou Athie) scramble through the grimy, mucky wreckage. They find more survivors: Paul (T.J. Miller), a tattooed oddball who carries around a stuffed bunny for good luck; Emily (Jessica Henwick), a biology intern; engineer and Emily's partner Smith (John Gallagher Jr); and the station's dutiful captain, Lucien (Vincent Cassel).

'UNDERWATER' TRAILER

With no escape pods left, Lucien recommends that they put on pressurised suits and walk one mile across the ocean floor to the abandoned Roebuck Station 641 - the film does a strong job of showcasing both the nearly suffocating claustrophobia of tight spaces and the vast emptiness of the environment.

Unfortunately, awakened by the incessant drilling, a race of spiny, gooey deep-sea Lovecraftian lifeforms with stretchy jaws have come out of the far depths.

As someone who unabashedly loves movies about weird stuff happening underwater - 'Sphere,' 'Deep Star Six,' and 'Leviathan' - Eubank's latest film was seemingly tailor-made for me.

The characters are simple archetypes - the captain with a tragic past, the comic relief, the useless IT guy, the scared rookie, and the cannon fodder. Kristen Stewart, her hair buzzed short and dyed blond, makes a great Ripley-esque action hero, complete with high-top sneakers and tight-fitting overalls.

Eubank keeps the narrative brief and to the point, pitting his rowdy, tech lingo-spouting characters against a series of obstacles: a crawl through a corpse-littered tunnel, a walk along the ocean floor, defective oxygen converters, and the constant threat of explosive decompression.

While the faster scenes are too chaotic and murky, what makes 'Underwater' so unique - and why subaquatic films usually struggle - is the literal sluggishness of its other action sequences. Characters descend elevators or ride brutally slow trams. The crew buzzes around in small robotic pods, their pace slowed by the water. That might not sound particularly fun, but Eubank effectively captures every bump and turn; it's a realistically awkward depiction of deep-sea travel.

Could 'Underwater' have benefited from being a one woman show, K-Stew versus monsters versus her own haunted past? Maybe.

'Underwater' pays homage to a number of films and owes its biggest debts to stuff like 'Alien: Resurrection', a film which plays like a collection of intriguing, half-formed ideas joined to the incongruous imagination of French fabulist Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Like James Cameron's 'The Abyss', Eubank snakes his camera through the behemoth of a cavernous underwater drilling platform. Like Neil Marshall's 'The Descent', it features strong female characters banding together to battle swarms of blind mutants beneath the Earth's surface.

'Underwater' also owes something to video games, mostly 'Bioshock', using costume (armoured, steampunk-inspired atmospheric diving suits), environment (devastated but littered with clues) and sound design - like the prerecorded announcements that loop through station corridors - for both exposition and irony.

Still, a handful of things took me out of the film, a melodramatic voiceover being chief among them, as well as the aforementioned incoherently fast action scenes. It also feels less like a William Eubank film ('Love' and 'The Signal' were heavy on flashbacks and the interior of the mind), and more like a collage of his influences. Could 'Underwater' have benefited from being a one-woman show, like J.D. Dillard's terrific merman horror film, 'Sweetheart'? K-Stew versus tentacle monsters versus her own haunted past? Maybe.

Tense and fun, with cool-looking creatures and jump scares that aren't too obnoxious, 'Underwater' may be disposable in the long run - but it's also an entertaining and unpretentious true Hollywood B-movie that is worth a visit to the cinema.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 23/01/2020
RUN TIME: 1h 35m
CAST: Kristen Stewart
T.j. Miller
Vincent Cassel
John Gallagher Jr
Jessica Henwick
Mamoudou Athie
Gunner Wright
DIRECTOR: William Eubank
WRITERS: Brian Duffield
Adam Cozad
PRODUCERS: Peter Chernin
Tonia Davis
Jenno Topping
SCORE: Marco Beltrami, Brandon Roberts
Underwater2020
UnderwaterMovie
UnderwaterMovie
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
23 Walks - A story of dogs, walks and romance later in life
TRENDING23 WALKSA story of dogs, walks and romance later in life
xXx: Return Of Xander Cage - The good, the bad and the ugly
TRENDINGxXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGEThe good, the bad and the ugly
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
Never Rarely Sometimes Always - The film every teenager needs to see
TRENDINGNEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYSThe film every teenager needs to see
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
Gallipoli - A powerful and important film remembered
TRENDINGGALLIPOLIA powerful and important film remembered
First Cow - A minimalist portrait of the American dream
TRENDINGFIRST COWA minimalist portrait of the American dream
Over the Limit - A real-life psychological thriller
TRENDINGOVER THE LIMITA real-life psychological thriller
Romantic Road - Falling in love with India, the Rolls Royce and each other
TRENDINGROMANTIC ROADFalling in love with India, the Rolls Royce and each other
Lion - A raw and powerful journey of identity
TRENDINGLIONA raw and powerful journey of identity
The Land Before Time - 30th anniversary of a breathtaking animated masterpiece
TRENDINGTHE LAND BEFORE TIME30th anniversary of a breathtaking animated masterpiece
School of Seduction - Husband hunting in Russia
TRENDINGSCHOOL OF SEDUCTIONHusband hunting in Russia
La Belle Époque - Crowd-pleasing French romantic comedy
TRENDINGLA BELLE ÉPOQUECrowd-pleasing French romantic comedy
A Guide to Second Date Sex - A quintessentially awkward British romantic comedy
TRENDINGA GUIDE TO SECOND DATE SEXA quintessentially awkward British romantic comedy
The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale - An extremely silly zomedy
TRENDINGTHE ODD FAMILY: ZOMBIE ON SALEAn extremely silly zomedy
About A Boy - All grown up 15 years on
TRENDINGABOUT A BOYAll grown up 15 years on
25 Free-to-Watch Short Horror Films - The scariest shorts we uncovered online
TRENDING25 FREE-TO-WATCH SHORT HORROR FILMSThe scariest shorts we uncovered online
In My Blood It Runs - An eye-opening tale of struggling Indigenous youth
TRENDINGIN MY BLOOD IT RUNSAn eye-opening tale of struggling Indigenous youth
Happy Ending - An extra-wrinkly sex comedy
TRENDINGHAPPY ENDINGAn extra-wrinkly sex comedy
Burning - One of the best films of the decade
TRENDINGBURNINGOne of the best films of the decade
© 2011 - 2020 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us