Recently released to digital, Underwater is a science fiction horror movie, from director William Eubank. The movie stars Kristen Stewart, Vincent Cassel and T.J. Miller, and tells the story of a deep sea research and drilling crew, who encounter mysterious creatures at the bottom of the ocean.
Across the course of the 95-minute movie, monsters rear their ugly heads, the lighting gets dark and moody, and crew numbers dwindle. There’s also hints of a sinister company doing something… er… sinister, and there is a scene in which the lead character struts around in her pants FOR NO REAL REASON.
If you think this all sounds a bit like the classic 1979 sci-fi horror, Alien you would be very, very correct. From its basic premise and its visual aesthetic, right through to the lead hero spending time in her undies, Underwater is essentially an aquatic take on the beloved movie.
Does this mean you should skip this film altogether and just re-watch Alien instead? Maybe.
I always encourage everyone and anyone to watch Alien (and its 1986 sequel, Aliens), but you still have to find time for something else, right? After all, so many films have ‘borrowed’ from Alien over the years, I’m inclined to at least judge this movie on what it brings to the table.
So, putting the Alien comparisons to one side for a moment, let me take the opportunity to say a few positives.
Underwater is a fairly slick-looking movie, with decent performances from the cast, especially Kristen Stewart. The effects are good, the dank murky depths of the ocean setting add an air of menace to proceedings, and the creatures are suitably creepy.
Visually, Eubank has made a solid film. While I wouldn’t want to live in this movie (all that sea water would be murder on my hair), I really enjoyed the look and feel of what was presented, and I think there is a lot of potential here to develop an interesting world.
But… and that’s about all I can say.
While Underwater isn’t a terrible movie, and there will be some that find it highly enjoyable, it all feels a little like treading water (no pun intended). This has all been done before, and done in a better way.
There’s no originality. I need some originality.
I guess ultimately, Underwater lives or dies based on your knowledge of Alien (yes, I’m back to Alien again). There really is no escaping the comparison, unless you are really unfamiliar with the 41-year old movie – which is possible.
Underwater carries a 15 certificate, and if you are 15 years’ old, or around that age, then you might not have seen Alien (yet). If that is the case, then Underwater will play fine.
For everyone else, you’ll know what to expect and I think you will be underwhelmed. Underwater is OK to watch with a couple of beers and a takeaway, but nothing more.
Oh, and just to clear something up…
Prior to its release, there were some online musings about Underwater being a secret Cloverfield sequel. The Cloverfield series has a habit of chucking out these random sci-fi movies and calling them sequels, and many suggested this could be the latest.
Underwater is not a Cloverfield movie and nor would it be. The Cloverfield series has links to Fox (now Disney), and Cloverfield is connected to Paramount.
Now all that said, Underwater could have easily been a Cloverfield sequel. It does fit the mould.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review of Underwater – I’m sorry it wasn’t more enthusiastic about the movie. Actually scratch that, I’m not sorry – I didn’t make the bloomin’ thing!
Anyway, for more horror-related posts, check out the recommended reads below.