Ewan Gleadow

Movie Review: Underwater

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Copyright: 20th Century Fox

I hate to admit it, but I was somewhat excited for Underwater upon the initial announcement of its release. It’s amazing how quick your optimism can dissolve after reading the words “T.J. Miller”, but nonetheless I thought I’d persevere through William Eubank’s latest feature, which is set at the bottom of the deep blue sea. Starring the likes of Kristen Stewart and Vincent Cassel, we’ve been given a whole host of talent and not all that much for them to do.  

Aliens meets The Little Mermaid is an odd concept, but Underwater takes it a step further and stretches through several other films from familiar genres also. It becomes an amalgamation of Deep Blue SeaEvent Horizon, Lovecraftian mythology, and the aforementioned James Cameron Aliens. Such an interesting concept is boiled down into the most primitive and basic of cliché and unvaried plot devices. Think of the most predictably dull aspects of every thriller style disaster film which follows a group of unruly, differing survivors. Whichever predictable piece of dramatic naivety you thought of, it’s somewhere within Underwater. What really disappoints me most of all is that I’m a real sucker for Lovecraftian horrors, and designing a monster based on Cthulhu was just the right amount of energy I needed from the film’s final villain.  

Underwater takes the troubling lack of variation in character formatting that Deep Blue Sea suffered from and couples it with the meandering set pieces of Alien: Resurrection. Essentially, it’s the worst aspects of both of those movies, which, having seen both Deep Blue Sea and Alien: Resurrection, I can tell you is not a positive. More or less relying on the putrid performances of its mystifyingly dull cast, Underwater can do nothing but plough on through its predictable plot and engrossingly boring set pieces.  

If the set pieces had been handled with an ounce of care then we could’ve had some somewhat enjoyable scenes involving Stewart and Cassel. It was not to be though, and instead we’re left with some sloppy scenes where the two are seemingly somewhat engaged in half-hearted banter and typically pastiche dialogue. With disaster films, most of the excitement comes from the eventual big reveal of a terrifying monster or out of this world event transcending the possibilities of reality. The reveal of Underwater is more or less the realisation of there being a big fish in the ocean, an idea never thought of by these deep-sea scientists. 

Ridiculously dull and borderline stupid, it’s frankly redundant in its stance on just about anything it looks to showcase. A boring monster flick with inadvertently stupid characters that I was actively rooting against for much of the running time. Egregiously bland characters thrown into the depths of the ocean, and their only company is T.J. Miller holding a stuffed bunny. A true horror to stand the test of time.