Underwater is a science fiction horror film written by Brian Duffield and Adam Cozad. The director is William Eubank. Kristen Stewart is the lead protagonist with Vincent Cassel, T.J. Miller, Jessica Henwick, and Mamoudou Athie as part of the cast. The film draws some inspiration from H.P. Lovecraft.
It’s not exactly the most original of plots, but the film works overall. A group of deep sea drillers are stationed about six miles under the ocean. The station suffers a catastrophic breach that occurs about just two minutes into the film. I thought for a couple of moments that it was a dream sequence experienced by Stewart’s character, however that was not the case. Stewart plays a young chemical engineer named Norah who manages to lead another crew member to other survivors of the initial collapse of the base. As the survivors try to make their way to another base a mile away, they find that new and savage intruders stand in their way.
There were some pretty effective frights throughout the film. Stewart is often panned for a limited range of acting, and that criticism is usually fair. She does manage to keep my interest this time. Everyone in the cast manages to sell it throughout the film. The visual effects were also quite convincing. The deep sea creatures were very well designed. I might have ended up with nightmares if I had seen this as a child.
There were times on the ocean floor where it was hard to determine what was actually happening. I understand that some of how the action was shot and edited was supposed to provide a sense of frightening realism, but it pulls me out of it a bit as my brain tries to catch up with what the characters are experiencing.
There wasn’t much explanation as to the origin of the creatures, however I found that I liked that. The film was about how these people were going to survive the onslaught, and I thought it was a good decision to just focus on that other than spending much time trying to figure out as to why these things are so testy.
For those of us who enjoy a good cinematic fright every now and then, this film manages to deliver just that. I still wouldn’t all it a future classic or anything like that, but it made a more lasting impression on me than I expected.