Underwater: A Solid B-Movie Monster Thriller

Underwater: A Solid B-Movie Monster Thriller

Underwater has come out amidst a rather dry spell in the movie business, with Sam Mendes’ 1917 being the only serious cultural hit within a box office filled with bombs like Cats and run-of-the-mill action movies like Bad Boys. Opening too far under half of its budget in box office returns, the Kristen Stewart horror movie saw little press promotion and public discussion before and surrounding its release. That said, while Underwater is certainly not a cultural landmark comparable to 1917, it is a wonderful B-Movie thriller set in the darkness of the abyss of the sea, taking the tried and true sci-fi horror of Alien and moving it back into our own atmosphere.

The main theme of this movie is isolation- much like how the original Alien chose to be set on a station in space, a bastion of humanity in infinite nothingness, Underwater takes place seven miles below sea level deep within the bowels of the Earth in the Mariana Trench. The characters are employees of Tian Industries, a generic corporation mining for unspecified resources deep within the ocean. The characters, nor the corporation, nor the specifics of the mine aren’t what’s particularly important for this movie, and instead the movie puts its entire focus into the story of survival against an unknown creature in an unforgiving, lonely, desolate void. There are 7 characters, with the main character being Kristen Stewart’s Norah Price, but all of them are rather generic or bland one way or the other. The movie rushes right into the action, following a very short introduction which introduces the plot and the setting. This helps to get the movie rolling, but also reduces most of the tension of the movie as we are given very little investment in any of the characters whom we are following for the duration of the movie.

This movie is a monster movie, and it advertises itself as much- hopefully I’m not spoiling anything by saying that.

The first twenty or so minutes of the movie attempt to hide the fact that there are monsters in the movie, but with monsters being the main reveal in the movie’s trailers, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when the monsters do appear towards the end of the first act. The monsters, which are comically described as “underwater moths,” aren’t exactly scary, as they are tiny little buggers which don’t really do anything unless awakened. Unlike the chest bursters from Aliens, the small form of the main monsters come off as harmless unless the plot demands they not be. They’re not threatening. I feel like I could stomp on one and kill it. Even the bigger form of the monsters, although having a unique design, aren’t exactly scary or intimidating. As the station falls apart, our cast of characters move deeper through the ocean, moving from station to station, mile by mile, encountering bigger and “scarier” creatures. I’m not scared of the species, however seeing our characters struggle against the obvious threats they present is as entertaining as any B-movie can be.

The final moments of the movie are supposed to be climactic, and I suppose half of it is, but it’s nothing new. I went into this movie not expecting it to be one of the best pieces of kino ever put to film, and so the second and third acts of the movie are pretty entertaining for what they’re worth. This whole movie is solid. I left the theater pretty satisfied with what happened- the movie was entertaining, if forgettable, and was worth the money I paid for what I got. I wasn’t disappointed; I wasn’t left with any new moral outlook or ethical perspective than I did went it, but it made for a nice night out at the Kinoplex. I’d rate it 7 arbitrary figures out of 10 for its ability to entertain and provide constant action and suspense considering how uninvested they knew you’d be.

 

ps: Is this a Cloverfield movie? Like halfway during the movie I started to notice some of the comparisons (some). Idk it’s just something I’d noticed.