Movie Review: UNDERWATER Starring Kristen Stewart
Underwater, the latest film from William Eubank, hit theatres this weekend. The film is a sci-fi flick starring Kristen Stewart as Norah, the main character, surrounded by a supporting cast of T.J. Miller, Jessica Henwick, Vincent Cassel, John Gallagher Jr., and Mamoundou Athie. Stewart and company are part of an aquatic research team, working in a facility nearly 7 miles beneath the surface of the water.
During their exhibition drilling into the oceans floor, an earthquake leaves their research facility destroyed. With limited resources, a small injured pack of survivors, and something unhuman lurking within the dark water around them, the crew must trek across the bottom of the ocean floor in search of a nearby facility that is hopefully still active, as well as providing a means of escape.
Eubank left the film short, giving the audience details through an opening credit montage, allowing for the viewers to develop a sense of the stories background and foreshadows the ‘anomalies’ that lie deep within the ocean. Within the first few moments of the film, the plot sets into motion, wasting no time at all. As the story progresses, we see our motley band of survivors fighting against the fatal mishaps within the research facility, and the even more fatal mysterious creatures that lie beyond the walls that separate them.
As a creature feature, audience members usually develop the same set of questions when seeing a flick like this: What are they? What do they want? Where do they come from? And, these questions are perfectly justifiable. However, we are given no answer whatsoever, leaving the audience frustrated and the storyline riddled with plot holes. It seems there was no driving force behind the movie. The cast was mediocre, with Stewart’s character Nora being the only one on-screen to be remotely interesting, but still given little to no backstory or development. T.J. Miller provides some brief comedic relief, which seems forced and unnecessary. I think the film would have benefited with some length, adding in some more details, exciting action sequences, and the tiniest amount of insight into its small cast (the credits proved that the cast of the film was under ten performers).
As for the creatures, I don’t really know where to start. A sense of mystery, if done correctly, can be eerie and leave the audience satisfied (think Cloverfield circa 2008.) The visual effects of this film had a lot of barriers it needed to jump over, not quite hitting its mark in any of those fields. Since the film is shot underwater (hence its creative title,) the camera shots are already dark and blurry, which seems to be more of a nuisance than a reality check. We don’t get any clear shot of the creatures that lurk among the bottom of the ocean, but from what I can tell, it could have been Cthulhu for all we know.
With a short runtime, a generic storyline, characters that have no impact on its viewers (poor Cthulhu,) this film sinks deeper into the ocean than 7 miles. I’m unsure it was from lack of advertising, the fact that the trailers cut for the film didn’t make it look all that exciting, or the truth that this film had all the likability and remembrance of 2011’s Apollo 18 (if you don’t understand that reference, it further proves my point,) but something went wrong. Thus far, it seems the “Roaring 20’s” has its work cut it for it in regard to releasing decent films. Here is to hoping some of the later releases this month that look promising actually deliver.