In Brief: Underwater has a plot that sinks to the bottom immediately.
January is the time of year that studios — for lack of a better description — dump movies. Usually these films are not very good. Most of the time they’re terrible and many end up on the year’s worst list.
That is if they’re remembered at all.
Underwater fits the description. It starts with a high tech drilling operation in the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench. It’s 36,000 feet beneath the ocean surface. An earthquake kills most of the inhabitants of the station. Kristen Stewart’s Norah and five others survive and are desperately trying to make it to a vehicle to take them to the surface and to safety.
All this takes a little over 90 tedious minutes.
Two of Stewart’s co-stars T.J. Miller and Vincent Cassel are among my — and some of your — favorites. All three do what they do best. Miller throws out semi-comic lines and Stewart and Cassel do strong silent types.
Their other three co-stars — Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher Jr. and Mamoudou Athie — are relative unknowns though Henwick did have a small part in “Game of Thrones.”
There are monsters at the bottom of the sea. Of course. Usually, movies like this kill characters in relation to their importance to the plot. Director William Eubank (The Signal) and writers Brian Duffield (Jane Got a Gun) and Adam Cozad (The Legend of Tarzan) spare us that predictable plot line but little else.
Unfortunately, there is very little in the plot to accompany the sparing of predictability. We see the monsters occasionally and Eubank shakes the camera a lot and puts the characters in state-of-the-art settings. What little dialogue that is written is mumbled.
That’s probably a good thing.
There is too much to criticize to focus on all so I’ll just point out the pressure at the deepest point on the planet. It is immense. The survivors have to walk long distances across the bottom of the ocean to different locations. They buzz right along. It’s laughable. Walking at that depth — even in a state of the art suit — would be a very slow go.
So is this movie. Tediously so. Underwater sinks quickly is the perfect title for a plot that very quickly goes there.
Director: William Eubank
Stars: Kristen Stewart, T.J. Miller, Jessica Henwick, Vincent Cassel, John Gallagher Jr., Mamoudou Athie
A murky monster story slides quickly underwater and drowns in its own plot flaws. Give this one a 1 on the Friday Flicks with Gary 0 to 5 scale.
Click here for theaters and show times.
Gary Wolcott has been reviewing movies on radio, television and newspaper since 1990. He believes — and this is an estimate only — that he’s seen something close to 10,000 movies in his lifetime. Gary is a lifelong fan of films and catches a couple of hundred movies a year. He believes movies ought to be seen on the big screen and not on the small screen in your living room or family room. While he loves movies, he also says reviewing film can be a real sacrifice and that he sees many movies so you don’t have to.
He is one of KXL 101.1 FM’s film critics and joined the news staff in 2014. Gary is also the film critic for Tri-Cities, Washington’s Tri-City Herald.