Author Topic: UNDERWATER *SOME* spoiler thoughts  (Read 138 times)

Offline perc2100

  • Volunteer HQ
  • ******
  • Join Date: Mar 2012
  • Posts: 2640
  • Liked: 793
UNDERWATER *SOME* spoiler thoughts
« on: May 20, 2020, 09:06:39 AM »
UNDERWATER is a film that sounds generic on paper but is an exhilarating breath of fresh air to experience.  The audience barely gets a minute to settle in after the credits, where we meet Norah (Kristin Stewart) going about her mundane task of brushing her teeth, when we're propelled immediately into the action.  The film, and the tense excitement, kicks off in under five minutes of screen time (including opening titles, which show the schematics of the underwater facilities we'll be spending the next 90 minutes in & around): before we know most of the cast or even the layout of the sets we're in.  In the quiet moments before things kick off with al literal bang (or, to be precise, several bangs), we see Norah's compassion with a daddy long-legs found in a sink: a tender moment that gets us on her side immediately.

And then we're off to the races!  Some unknown event has caused major structural integrity issues, and Norah is sprinting off to escape floods and a structure falling apart rapidly around her.  Along the way she meets up with her colleagues Rodrigo (Mamoudou Athie), Paul (TJ Miller), the Captain (Vincent Cassel), Smith (John Gallagher Jr), and Emily (Jessica Henwick), the only remaining survivors.  The crew also encounter a few dead bodies along the way as they frantically have to figure out how to exit their facility before it completely collapses AND where they can go for safety.

The first 3rd of the film is all about surviving the catastrophe & problem solving, with little to no hint of what's to come.  As I became engrossed with the tension I almost forgot that the movie was about the sea creatures that pop up for the back hour of the film.  Our first glimpse of the creatures are a little one (a baby?) found near some dead crewmen outside of the facility.  I appreciate the creature designs, even though because of the environment we rarely get a good look at them.  But what we see is effectively creepy, and the creatures are often utilized for jump scares: adding to an already massively tense situation.

Many have naively wanted to compare this as "ALIEN underwater," but to me this film feels far closer to horror film THE DECENT.  We have a small group of folks in a claustrophobic situation that starts off with the crew trying to problem solve their way out of a disaster, and come into contact with a new species seemingly intent with taking them out.  Director William Eubank takes what feels like a simplistic script and really makes the most of it: maybe even overachieves.  This film doesn't feel like an original idea, and there is little to no character development for the most part.  Many of the characters get their own little trait or quirk (for example, we learn Norah has her own tragic backstory but seems to be a wiz with the computer & hardware stuff around the multiple complexes), but they feel more like archetypes rather than actual characters.  The plot is a standard creatures-chase-the-heroes type of movie, complete with mostly predictable story beats.

So the story is unoriginal, and the characters are non-existent.  But sometimes, none of that really matters in the moment, and that's where UNDERWATER really excels!  I started watching this film around 9:30pm one night, and I had to turn it off around the 20 minute mark because my heart was racing and it felt a bit too intense!  I started again the next night earlier, and my apple watch was constantly reminding me to breathe as I easily got caught up in the excitement.  Stewart is a wonderfully subtle actress, and she really makes us feel the danger and nerves with subtle jumpy gestures: like twitchy, nervous reactions as she internally accesses situations.  The strong cast does what they can with the thin characters they have, and only during an occasional quiet moment does one's mind start to think about the lack of development, or the cooke-cutout characters (of course TJ Miller plays the goofball guy; of course there is a naive newbie type character; etc).  The film wisely doesn't spend much time with where the creatures come from or why they're seemingly just toying with our characters.  We get everything from a "maybe they're mad that we took a baby" to Emily saying several times that man was never meant to be that deep in the ocean (about 7 miles down), implying their drilling rig has maybe 'unleashed' heretofore unknown aggressive species.

There's a nice twist near the end of the film that I'd be remiss without commending, but I don't dare want to spoil for anyone who hasn't already been spoiled.  It ramps up the tension even more while given fans of a certain genre author a squeal of delight.  The reveal was spoiled for me so I don't want to diminish the effect for others.

Sorry but you are not allowed to view spoiler contents.


Overall, UNDERWATER is a mostly fun, entertaining experience.  The characters or plot aren't a revelation to the genre, but the tight, claustrophobic horror/disaster film has the perfect pacing and makes for a nice rollercoaster ride of a movie.

Offline semigeekgirl

  • Volunteer HQ
  • ******
  • Join Date: Feb 2013
  • Posts: 2982
  • "If the apocalypse comes, beep me."
  • Liked: 1642
Re: UNDERWATER *SOME* spoiler thoughts
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2020, 09:16:23 AM »
My husband and I saw it in theaters and really enjoyed it, although we found the big reveal a little underwhelming (the creature is always scarier before you see it). I thought the whole thing was really well done. Sometimes it's nice to see a movie that just takes a straightforward premise and does it well, without having to set up sequels or fit into a cinematic universe.

Friends of Comic Cons

  • Guest
Re: UNDERWATER *SOME* spoiler thoughts
« Reply #2 on: Today at 12:01:19 AM »

Offline clarrkkent

  • Gaming Lounge
  • ****
  • Join Date: Apr 2018
  • Posts: 353
  • @Wa_Fly_Guy on IG
  • Liked: 138
Re: UNDERWATER *SOME* spoiler thoughts
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2020, 10:28:44 AM »
I saw it in the theater and really enjoyed it. I agree with your assessment that it’s more comparable to The Descent. I did t expect much from it going in, so I’m always pleased when a movie beats my expectations.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
"Compassion for animals is intimately connected with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man"

-Arthur Schopenhauer

Offline perc2100

  • Volunteer HQ
  • ******
  • Join Date: Mar 2012
  • Posts: 2640
  • Liked: 793
Re: UNDERWATER *SOME* spoiler thoughts
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2020, 12:45:07 PM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
My husband and I saw it in theaters and really enjoyed it, although we found the big reveal a little underwhelming (the creature is always scarier before you see it). I thought the whole thing was really well done. Sometimes it's nice to see a movie that just takes a straightforward premise and does it well, without having to set up sequels or fit into a cinematic universe.
Yeah often when the light shines on a creature it's never as creepy as it is in your mind!  I personally thought the design of the baby creature is the best creature design in the movie, and the filmmakers were wise to shoot most of the creature scenes/shots in darkness, or w/graining POV shoulder-dive cams, etc.  To me the big reveal is a bit underwhelming design-wise, but works like GANGBUSTERS in concept (and there's only so much one can do to "design" an adaptation of an incredibly famous/infamous creature).

You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
I saw it in the theater and really enjoyed it. I agree with your assessment that it’s more comparable to The Descent. I did t expect much from it going in, so I’m always pleased when a movie beats my expectations.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Yeah I think my expectations were a bit low going in as well.  A friend of mine who works for a movie website was REALLY excited about this though, so I did have higher expectations than I would have because of his enthusiasm!  I dig how this movie isn't anything more or less than its fairly simplistic premise, and I kinda adore that the film has a plot, characters, and story beats that if written out or just explained make it feel incredibly underwhelming (to me, at least - certainly not something fresh or new).  The "off to the races" opening couple minutes creating awesome pacing right out of the opening titles really helped me get into this immediately, and I think the movie "wins" me over due to its seeming breakneck pacing & 100% understanding of the economy of time for a sci-fi/horror/disaster film: wasting little to no time in between big set pieces and giving audiences very little breathing room