'Underwater' unearths multiple fears with non-stop action
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'Underwater' unearths multiple fears with non-stop action

Director William Eubank leads Kristen Stewart, T.J. Miller, Jessica Henwick, Vincent Cassel, John Gallagher Jr. and Mamoudou Athie in this scary underwater action film.

Kristen Stewart is in an underwater diver or spacesuit pictured in the foreground with her only source of light coming from her lamps on the suit. There are two other actors blurred in the background behind her. They walk on the ocean floor in darkness.
Twentieth Century Fox

"Underwater" wastes no time getting to the action. Immediately the visual effects are astounding, and accompanied by a fantastic score and production design the tensions are high.

But as the movie goes on, the writing isn't strong enough to feel invested in the characters' fates.

An industry company is drilling a hole in the Mariana Trench thousands of miles away from land and about seven feet below the ocean's surface. There are bases and labs surrounding the area, and in one of those bases is a mining crew including a lonely mechanical engineer.

Underwater | Official Trailer [HD] | 20th Century FOXwww.youtube.com

Norah (Kristen Stewart) is casually brushing her teeth as she thinks about life and the lack of sunlight in her underwater laboratory until an "earthquake" rattles her base. She and the remaining five crew members – Smith (John Gallagher Jr.), Captain Lucien (Vincent Cassel), Rodrigo (Mamoudou Athie), Emily (Jessica Henwick) and Paul (T.J. Miller) – must navigate their way across the ocean floor toward an abandoned rig to call for help and find escape pods.

But on their way, they discover that it wasn't a natural disaster that destroyed the base. Creepy octopus-like monsters are swarming the area and attack anything that moves.

It's clear which movies inspired director William Eubank with his vision for "Underwater." It's a Ridley Scott-esque adventure in tone and unimportant ways like a monster eating its way through a body. A heroine and her fellow crew members have to survive an unknown monster and escape from confined spaces. The movie masterfully plays on numerous phobias like fear of tight spaces, loneliness, the unknown, the dark and the deep ocean, which adds anxiety to the atmosphere. Coupled with the eerie production design and technical elements, the movie lands its action-horror tone.

However, it's disappointing when a film puts all the effort into its visuals but not in its storytelling.

The movie tells audiences "don't mess with the environment. Who knows what's down there?" The message though appreciated in a timely manner, feels empty when there isn't a lot of development surrounding the industry and why it wants to dig in a trench beyond opening credit newspaper headlines. It would've been nice to see more on the creatures other than they're possibly attracted to light and heat. And the characters are so underdeveloped that it's hard for the audiences to care about them.

Norah wears a chain with a charm or something throughout the whole movie. At one point, she collapses on the floor and tightly grasps the necklace. Clearly it means a lot to her, but it's never explained or shown what it really is. The only backstory she gets is about a past relationship that deeply affected her.

This movie is absolutely a popcorn film for those who love action-horror creature films. But for those searching for a deeper story, they won't find one in the depths of "Underwater."

"Underwater" gets a 6/10 stars. It premieres nationwide on Friday, January 10.

Follow Samantha on Twitter at @_SamI520.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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