The Pitch: After an explosion decimates the central drilling facility seven miles underwater, a small group of survivors, including technologist Norah( Kristen Stewart ), Captain Lucien( Vincent Cassel ), Rodrigo( Mamoudou Athie ), Smith( John Gallagher Jr ), newbie Emily( Jessica Henwick ), and jokester Paul( TJ Miller ), must make a risky journey across the ocean floor to a neighboring station. Unfortunately, their course is fraught with restraint breath reserves, falling junks, and a new engender of sea person that’s hunting them.

Aquatic Horror: Between Crawl, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged and The Pool, 2019 proved to be a banner year for water-related horror cinemas. Underwater, a 2017 20 th Century Fox film lost in the Disney acquisition shuffle, is only now seeing the light of day, but it’s a solid entryway in the recently resuscitated sub-genre. Underwater conjures its predecessors with nods to the placed pattern, narrative, and creature undertaking of other movies such as Leviathan, Deep Blue Sea, and, most notably, the Alien franchise.

Ripley Energy: While the role of Norah is more emotionally floored and sombre than Stewart’s ass-kicking performance in Elizabeth Banks’ Charlie’s Angels, Stewart is undeniably sympathetic and winsome now. Right from the film’s opening sequence, when Norah must make a catastrophic decision in order to safeguard the stability of the equipment long enough to escape, Stewart is the film’s anchor. Through her tender father-god/ daughter tie-in with Captain Lucian, her banter with Rodrigo, her oversight on Emily and Smith’s relationship, and her bemused looks at Paul, Norah is responsible for generating audience investment in the slightly undercooked relationships that Underwater develops in between thrilling action sequences.

Underwater( Twentieth Century Fox)

Dive In: The film’s single greatest asset is how expeditiously disaster befalls this crew. Following a credit sequence of news reports and schematics of the various Tian drilling facilities, there is a quick homage to Alien’s sluggish 360 -degree opening wash and some heavy-handed voice-over from Norah, but less than five minutes have delivered before a facility-destroying explosion necessitates the emergency escape down to the ocean. It’s an adrenaline burst that starts Underwater off with a ton of kinetic energy and immediately throws audiences into the thick of it.

Ticking Time Bomb: The happening that the survivors must first outrace an blowup, then duel paraphernalium failures and a limited supply of aura, gives the cinema a ticking clock taste. The opening string is outstanding, although is the beginning on such a high stirs precede strings sallow in comparison, and, regrettably, generates the sense that the second act’s pacing is soggy. Thankfully, the energy picks up much honcho into the finale when the scope of the hazard — and the dimensions of the creature scheme — is revealed.

At days, the urgency and reaction time of the gang seems suspiciously slow considering the plethora of threats outlined early on( perhaps front pain and sluggish asphyxiation be held accountable ?). While the action cycles vary in order to pad out the roll experience and eschewed too much repetition, the investigation of a crashed flee pod and an extended creature attack through the penetrations can’t help but definitely sounds like detours that leave less age for the climax.

Underwater( Twentieth Century Fox)

Ocean Silt: Overall, Underwater’s production design and visual aesthetic are top notch. The crude workability and lovely concoction of high and low tech of the terminals — as well as the computers, the lighting, and, including with regard to, the oversized underwater dress — lends the film a strong sense of legitimacy. Less successful is the visual depiction of the disclosed ocean floor, which borrows a similar coming to antagonism build that 47 Rhythms Down and its sequel both used: gloomy, silt-and-debris-clouded water. A parcel of the open water photographs suffer from this lack of clarity, which helps to setup jump scares as frequently as it obscures specific actions, which forms for an alternately thrilling and forestalling see ordeal. In fact, one act cycle near the end of the second act occurs at such a fast pace in the cloudy ocean liquids that it becomes difficult to detect what’s happening.

Terrible TJ: In the delayed time between filming and release, Miller has been accused of sexual assault and the actor’s presence in the film is, admittedly, agitating. On top of this, the specific characteristics of Paul is arguably the most insufferable of the whole crew. From poor aims at laughter( at one tense moment, Paul utters, “Anyone else about to shit their heaves ?”) to the bizarre decision to have the character carry around a stuffed bunny like a security blanket, Paul is frequently at odds with the film’s tone.

Underwater( Twentieth Century Fox)

It’s clear from the writing and Miller’s performance that Paul is an attempt to add levity to the overwhelming threat of imminent death. There is a precedent for this kind of character( consider Kevin J. O’Connor’s role as the plucky sidekick in Deep Rising ), but Underwater is not a tongue-in-cheek film. As the cinema continues, Paul feels increasingly out of place and puffs up dragging the whole enterprise down, which is unfortunate because the other actors, extremely Stewart, work hard to make audiences invest in the life and death struggle of these admittedly shallow and underdeveloped characters.

The Verdict: Underwater is a solid beast aspect that isn’t afraid to acknowledge its sub-genre predecessors. Kristen Stewart lights amidst a chiefly charming give, fastening a cinema that moves at a relatively brisk excerpt, particularly in its bombastic openness and closing sequences.

Where’s It Playing: Underwater swims into theaters this Friday, Jan 10 th.


Film Review: Underwater Delights with Aquatic Horror Thrills Michael Roffman

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