Underwater (USA 2019) Dir: William Eubank
Kristen Stewart, Vincent Cassel, Mamadou Athie
In the near future, an ethically dodgy mining corporation has constructed a huge drilling rig seven miles below the ocean surface at the bottom of the Mariana trench.
Opening with a monologue by Hollywood pixie Kristen Stewart consisting of some cod-philosophical word salad, director Eubank’s second effort soon gets down to business when a huge underwater earthquake rips through the rig killing most of its crew.
Realising they are fubared with a capital F, the survivors led by Nora (Stewart) and Captain Lucien (a suitably grizzled Cassel), must attempt a hazardous underwater trek along the seabed in order to reach another station that houses functioning escape pods that will take them to the surface. However, the drilling operation and subsequent earthquake has awakened a previously unknown hostile species…
UNDERWATER looks great, the cast is good and the film succeeds mightily in generating its claustrophobic hostile environment and the tense race against time pace that is central to its premise. The problem the film has is that it doesn’t really add anything new to the ‘creatures beneath the sea’ sci-fi/horror sub genre. Consequently it comes off as a rather expensive but po-faced update of 80’s straight to video faves like DEEPSTAR SIX and LEVIATHAN, and certainly doesn’t have the conceptual chops of it’s big budget genre stablemates like THE ABYSS. A well made genre entry with some inventive deaths and lovely production design, alas let down by its formulaic story and an over-reliance on see-it-all-before CGI in the third act.