Underwater (2020) – Film Review
by Roger Crow / @RogerCrow
You’ll not find the RAFTU genre in any film book. Like TOAM (trapped on a mountain) movies, it’s my shorthand for a well worn genre that surfaces from time to time.
In this case ’running away from things underwater’.
Thirty plus years ago Hollywood was awash with them, from James Cameron’s hit and miss The Abyss, to cheaper offerings such as Deepstar Six and Leviathan. Recently the excellent Sea Fever proved that you don’t need to spend a fortune to make an excellent watery alien thriller, and at the other end of the spectrum is Underwater.
“Hell breaks loose”
Kristen Stewart, looking like a Pink tribute act, is Nora, the lean heroine who is a dab hand with engineering stuff, which is handy when all hell breaks loose in the first few minutes on her deep sea drilling rig.
As she regroups with her surviving crew members, they spend the rest of the film travelling from A to B in semi darkness or CG murk. There are echoes of Gravity, Life and assorted other thrillers as Nora tackles demons in the briny depths.
If you’ve never seen the aforementioned thrillers then you may be hooked, but while cast and crew do their best, the echoes of superior offerings like Alien haunt the corridors of the assorted bases. And the beasts themselves look like they were plucked from a book of generic deep sea creatures.
As a video game this probably would have worked a lot better, but as a film it’s almost crushed under the weight of predictability.
Thankfully in its defence the last 10 minutes is well worth a look for not opting for the most obvious solution. Just a shame the second act was so muddled.
If you want to enhance the experience a little, around the 83-minute mark, watch it again with ’Try’ by Pink instead of the usual soundtrack. It makes for a rather rewarding finale.