Time: 95 Minutes
Age Rating: Violence, horror scenes & offensive language
Kristen Stewart as Norah Price
Vincent Cassel as W. Lucien
Mamoudou Athie as Rodrigo Nagenda
T.J. Miller as Paul Abel
John Gallagher Jr. as Liam Smith
Jessica Henwick as Emily Haversham
Director: William Eubank
Disaster strikes more than six miles below the ocean surface when water crashes through the walls of a drilling station. Led by their captain, the survivors realize that their only hope is to walk across the sea floor to reach the main part of the facility. But they soon find themselves in a fight for their lives when they come under attack from mysterious and deadly creatures that no one has ever seen.
I knew about Underwater for some time, it was a horror sci-fi thriller taking place in the ocean and starred Kristen Stewart in the lead role. I didn’t expect much from it really, especially for a January released thriller, but I had a feeling it would be entertaining at least. Thankfully it was quite a fun movie and I liked it for what it was, even with its faults.
Right after an establishing shot inside and outside the station, and after the first scene of Kristen Stewart establishing her as the protagonist, the crash that sets the plot into motion happens. I do like how quickly it gets into the action, as well as the straightforwardness of the plot. The plot itself is rather predictable and doesn’t really do anything new, with plenty of tropes from other horror movies. In fact much of the story and setting for sure takes cues from Alien, just taking place underwater instead of outer space; Underwater is basically Alien in the ocean. With that said, I didn’t expect it to be something unique or subversive, so it wasn’t that huge of a negative for me. There are some parts of the plot I’m uncertain about, but I just went along with it. It is quite fast paced, and for the most part I think they fitted the movie well. There are brief attempts at humour especially with the dialogue, and I found that those moments only felt out of place and didn’t help to do anything but distract from the rest of the movie. Something I really didn’t like was all the exposition through voice over from Kristen Stewart in the first and last scenes of the movie, it just feels very unnecessary and lazy. It’s a minor issue since it’s only present in those scenes, but they stick out as being very unwelcome.
The cast do a good job in their parts. Kristen Stewart is really good in the lead role, her performance actually does carry the movie well. The rest of the cast including Vincent Cassel and Jessica Henwick play their parts well. The characters are likable enough, if rather underdeveloped despite the attempts at development. Out of them, T.J. Miller feels the most out of place, he does have some dramatic parts, but out of the cast he delivers the most comedy, and as previously said the comedy doesn’t work.
Underwater is directed pretty well by William Eubank. Again, you can clearly tell that the movie is inspired by Alien with regards to the direction, but its nonetheless good. I really like the look of the movie. It is well shot, the interiors look great, especially with the colour and lighting. Additionally, the setting at the facility was quite effective for this type of movie and its plot. The horror and scares were also handled quite well, with a tense atmosphere throughout, and it did a good job at making you really feeling confined. The quick cut editing sometimes worked well, at other times it made things a bit hard to follow. It does feel creepy throughout, especially the underwater scenes. I really liked how they portrayed the underwater from the visuals to the sounds. It’s a little while before we get to see the Lovecraftian-like creatures, but they are creepy and effective as horror monsters. As for issues with the direction, the outside CGI heavy shots really look fake and rough to say the least. A nit-pick but nonetheless something that stood out was the unnecessary text that appears on screen to show the location names.
Underwater was quite good and entertaining for what it was, with some solid direction, and a good cast that performs well, especially a solid Kristen Stewart. The script has some faults for sure and it’s nothing special, but I reckon that if you like the look of the movie, it’s worth a watch for sure. It’s a fun 90 minute long horror thriller flick.