Underwater ★★½

Rotten Tomatoes: 46%
Metacritic Metascore: 48
IMDb: 5.8

54/100

Release Date: 10 January 2020
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Budget: $80M
Worldwide Gross: $40.8M
Total Film Awards: TBD

2020 Ranked
2020 Horror Films Ranked 

Smith: "Oh you beautiful flat chested chick."

SYNOPSIS: A crew of oceanic researchers working for a deep-sea drilling company try to get to safety after a mysterious earthquake devastates their deepwater research and drilling facility located at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

You better not show up to this movie late, as "Underwater" almost immediately thrusts the audience into a panic situation from the get-go. Not even a word had been uttered before the underwater rig was imploding following an unidentified explosion. After the major damage was done 70% of the underwater station was compromised and presumably over 300 crew members were dead leaving only 6 presumed survivors. Vincent Cassell, the station captain, and T.J. Miller's role as the comic relief, which he does quite well, definitely stand out among the leads. I know people like to bash Kristen Stewart, but her performance carried the film well, despite its many flaws.

TRIVIA: They shot on dark stages with no lights for the underwater scenes. They used volumetric scanning, by putting some atmosphere around the actors and letting the flashlights move through the particles. They were able to measure the approximate density about which the water should be moving around them.

Director William Eubank and co-writers Brian Duffield and Adam Cozad create plenty of tension, danger, and suspense. The movie is at its best when they let the moment speak. It's the dialogue that is mostly cringe-worthy, as well as the predictable and unnecessary jump-scares. These people are stranded miles deep in the ocean and are running out of oxygen and options ... and are being chased by something they can't identify. The visual effects, although very average, are successful in generating the environment of danger and claustrophobia.

TRIVIA: Actors wore airtight suits for the underwater scenes, making it difficult to hear the director's commands. Each suit weighed about 140 lbs (63 kg).

It's in the little things where the film falters. When we first see the Captain, he has his arm in a sling. He's obviously injured. Once the bulky underwater suits are donned, his bad arm seems just fine ... he's even pulling one of the others with a rope! Nora makes a big deal about being the "smallest" of the group and volunteers to explore a narrow passage. The problem is that they are all wearing the same suits - a fact that should negate any advantage of Kristen Stewart's slim, toned body. There was also a lot of shaky-cam movement and shoddy editing in scenes where the characters were being chased or attacked, making them somewhat difficult to follow.

DIRECTOR: William Eubank
WRITER: Brian Duffield, Adam Cozad
FILMING LOCATIONS: Louisiana, USA

Since underwater movies are a rarity one immediately compares it to The Abyss which had much more excitement, suspense, interest, charm, flair, and mystery. Lastly, the film has borrowed heavily from James Cameron's classic Alien. In fact, it has been referred to as "Underwater Alien". Of course, this film isn't nearly as well-rounded or complete as that one ... but then few are, but anyone making any sort of straight comparison to that film should just slap themselves in the face right now. C'mon man! 

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Fact-Checking / TRIVIA Source: IMDb

Stay safe my friends.

Directing - 2.5/5
Writing - 2/5
Editing - 2/5
Visuals - 2.5/5
Sound - 2.5/5
Acting - 2.5/5
Pacing - 3.5/5
Suspense rating - 3/5
Enjoyment rating - 6.5/10

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