Seven miles below the surface of the ocean, there is no light, temperatures are freezing cold, and the things that live there are more terrifying than anything out of a horror movie. This is the setting for the recently released film Underwater, directed by William Eubank, and it truly serves its purpose of giving the audience a strong case of claustrophobia. A crew of deep-sea drillers have awoken something living at the bottom of the ocean, and it wants its territory back.
This film jumps straight into the action and does not let up, even after the credits begin rolling. There is no time wasted on exposition or silly things such as character development; instead, the drilling rig is compromised within the first five minutes, the power of the ocean and her inhabitants being shown in full force. For most films, this method of storytelling makes for a poorly written film. However, this is not the case for Underwater. The chilling graphics, tight spaces, and crushing pressure of the ocean waters combine into a movie meant to get the blood pumping, all with very little thinking involved.
The survivors of the initial attack must walk across the bottom of the ocean to the Roebuck drill in order to take escape pods to the surface. The plot is simple, but the scares are genuine, and the monsters come right from a H.P. Lovecraft story. Underwater plays on the audience’s fear of tight spaces with nowhere to go. This film does not allow the audience to feel safe on their own planet, with the monsters originating from planet Earth.
Due to the simple plot, this movie could have been a major flop with good CGI, if not for the one and only Kristen Stewart, who saved the movie from weak writing with her strong presence as the lead. She plays the part of an underwater Ripley, who anybody watching can root for.
Jessica Henwick, well known for her role in the Netflix series Iron Fist, plays the vulnerable character that must overcome her fears to survive. T.J. Miller played, well, T.J. Miller, making sophomoric jokes that served the purpose of dispersing the looming tension. However, Stewart truly stole the spotlight in Underwater with her intense performance. This film was not one with overwhelming dialogue, and Stewart’s quiet acting and serious expression made her perfect as the lead.
This film is not for the faint of heart and certainly not for those in the audience with a fear of the ocean. Overall, Underwater was a heart-stopping plunge that will leave the viewer shaking as they leave the theater. The plot is easy to follow, and the audience will be on the edge of their seat, watching the characters fight for their life in a scenario that might be more real than they realize. The bottom of the ocean is vast and largely unexplored, what could possibly be lying in the depths, waiting to be discovered?