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REVIEW: Underwater

Underwater stars Kristen Stewart as an engineer working aboard a deep-sea laboratory, who must fend for her life alongside her crew when an earthquake devastates the station. 

I’ll start by admitting that I’ve never been a big fan of Kristen Stewart, with Twilight to thank for this rather negative opinion. However I’ve come to realise she’s actually a decent actress, especially in action packed films, and this really helped me to enjoy Underwater a lot more than I was expecting.

The action in this is virtually nonstop. There’s no lengthy or drawn out introductions, we’re submerged (literally) into the main plot of this film less than 5 minutes in and it continues in this vein throughout. It’s an edge of your seat thrill ride that’s tense and gripping, and there isn’t a dull moment. The horror aspect is rather well done and paired with the unknown and often claustrophobic circumstances the characters find them inand the very good score, it becomes quite a scary and nerve wracking film. The plot is decent and whilst the reveal on the cause of the earthquake isn’t entirely unpredictable, it still proves to be great entertaining. 

Sadly despite my gushing, Underwater isn’t perfect. The biggest problem with it is the CGI and special effects. The props and set design themselves look good, but they’re let down when we’re shown these huge CGI underwater scenes that are meant to look impressive but instead look horrendous. I’d be interested to know how this looked on the big screen, but in a home setup it looks decidedly dodgy. And slow motion every time something explodes is cringeworthy.

Underwater also suffers from your typical survival filmclichés. The plot itself is very typical of a survival film, and paired with ridiculous and predictable actions by underdeveloped characters, it lets it down. The cast too are also let down by the cliched characters, and even Vincent Cassel and John Gallagher Jnr are given little to work with. The only character that has had any development whatsoever is Stewart’s Nora, who is a decent and fairly likeable protagonist. 

I really wish Underwater had a little more money thrown at it. If they had dramatically improved the CGI then I think this would’ve made for a cracking good sci-if/horror. The critical reception for this hasn’t been great, which surprises me as overall this is a very tense, nerve wracking and sometimes scary film that just falls short of being very good.

Underwater (2020) 1h 35min | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi | 10 January 2020 (USA) Summary: 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.
Countries: USALanguages: English
Sarah Clapperton
A contract manager moonlighting as a rather discerning film and book critic, with an almost fangirl appreciation for anything made by Christopher Nolan. When I'm not catching up on my latest read or watch, you can usually find me trying out my amateur baking skills - Bake Off here I come!