To start this review, let’s talk about Underwater as a concept.
What does it mean to be underwater? Usually, someone who says that they are underwater means they have water above them. And they are rarely actually under water while speaking, because that is hard to do when surrounded by water.
But if you have water over you, there is a good chance you still have more water under you too. Right? To be under something you really just need to be under a little bit of it apparently. You can be completely surrounded by water, so why would you be so weirdly specific in order to just say you are under it?
Seems ridiculous. Speaking of being ridiculous and not super specific, let’s get on to the review.
Not much water surrounding these folks!
As you will try to read very quickly at the start of the film, as newspaper headlines/taglines/regular lines flash across the screen with the occasional strobe, there are big underwater research/drilling sites. Super big, bottom of the ocean, with drills going far down. Why? Energy or something. And I guess some earthquakes are happening and weird things. But we don’t have time for that.
We only have time for Norah (Kristen Stewart), who is contemplating what it means to exist and sleep and work, when the explosions immediately start rocking the ship. Panic, running, and immediately she helps save the day by blocking the water from blowing up the whole place. Norah, along with some stranglers she meets (Mamoudou Athie, T.J. Miller) make it up to the escape pods, and darn it, they are already gone.
She does meet the captain (Vincent Cassel) and some more crew members (Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher Jr.) and realize they don’t have much time to get out. The top is collapsing. The bottom is flooded. They make a quick plan to descend to the sea floor, get int these sweet underwater suits, and walk a long distance to an older station that should still have some escape pods. It is their only chance.
But what caused the explosions down there? What made the horrible sounds in the last drill recording, what is banging on their walls, and what is out for their blood?
Not great for speed swimming, but good for not blowing up purposes.
I expected Underwater to be much worse than it actually ended up being.
I saw a giant standee for it a few months ago and sent it to my wife that it would be bad. It had T.J. Miller on the standee, third name! What? The Bomb threat guy? The one who beat his girlfriend? The drunk and wants to fight man? Why is he in a movie right now?
Oh, turns out this was made in 2017, before a lot of that, and took forever to come out.
Now surprinsgly, it wasn’t completely terrible. Miller was terrible yes. And the film early on had an issue where it refused to let the audience fully react to scenes or let us see how characters got out of a jam. Quick jumps in time, that gets us through potentially boring struggles I guess? One quite annoying one had them crashing to the sea floor on a ride, hurrying to get the door open to jump, and then the next instant they were all on the sea floor running. What the hell? Where’s my jump?
A lot of the film uses the dark depths and hard to distinguish up/down to its advantage to confuse the viewer. But honestly, the monsters were really a cool design. I love what they did with them. Reminded me of underwater ghost vampires in a way, and sure, Cthulhu in another.
This film gets straight to the point at the beginning, and isn’t a long run time. It is relatively predictable, but it has some sweet visuals that can produce some scares and some relatively fun moments.
2 out of 4.