Sommerleigh Pollonais – Horror Head Writer
Preface: So I’ve finally hit the year of years, 2020. It’s been a fun ride so far, as challenging myself to cover horror movies from every decade since the inception of the genre has allowed me to watch and enjoy films I’ve never seen. Now that I’m smack dab in the present, things get a little tougher. Reason being, the year isn’t over yet! So with five films to go, my only choice was to list the Top 5 Horror movies I’ve seen (so far). The ones I think are worthy of being included here. So here we go!
Plot: A crew of oceanic researchers working for a deep sea drilling company try to get to safety after a mysterious earthquake devastates their deepwater research and drilling facility located at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
What do Event Horizon, The Thing, Blade Runner, Donnie Darko and The Rocky Horror Picture Show all have in common? They are all examples of box office bombs that have gone on to be hailed as cult classics. Films that were grossly underappreciated when they were first released, but with some time and reviewing have gained the respect they should’ve gotten in the first place. I might be in the minority here, but I think Underwater will one day gain this type of appreciation as well.
Underwater stars Kristen Stewart, an actress who has been permanently tainted by her role as Bella in the inexplicably popular Twilight Saga, as a mechanical engineer who, along with a handful of crew members including Vincent Cassel (Westworld) Jessica Henwick (Iron Fist) John Gallagher Jr. (10 Cloverfield Lane) Mamoudou Athie (Black Box) and T.J. Miller (Deadpool) are forced to walk miles across the ocean floor when the underwater drilling facility they work in starts to collapse. If that wasn’t bad enough, the collapse was caused by undiscovered creatures who begin killing them off one by one.
I think there are a few reasons this film didn’t make the impact it should’ve. Firstly, Kristen Stewart as the lead heroine. Like I mentioned before, Stewart is considered a terrible actress because most people have only seen her in terrible movies (she really should get a new agent). For those who’ve seen her performances in films like Adventureland, Personal Shopper and Clouds of Sils Maria for which she won the Caesar Award for Best Supporting Actress, you know she can deliver top notch performances, and I think Underwater is definitely one of her better performances.
Her character here is equal parts vulnerable and courageous, having to make split-minute life-saving decisions and live with the repercussions after. She doesn’t even have that much dialogue to work with, yet her emotions are all over her face and suit each situation perfectly.
The second issue some folks have with this movie is its derivative of other films like Aliens and The Abyss. To that I say, so what?! As long as a story is engaging, thrilling and entertaining, I don’t care that much about originality. There is more than enough here for Underwater to stand on its own as a fun sci-fi horror flick. One of the best aspects of this film for me, besides the obvious, was how different the characters were from what you would usually get in a horror movie.
Besides T.J. Miller hamming things up for laughs (weakest aspect of the film by far), all of these people worked together for their survival. No backstabbing, no unnecessary arguments or temper tantrums. They acted the way you would expect real professionals would, trying to find the best solutions to beat the overwhelming odds against them. Even Aliens and The Abyss didn’t have that and I love BOTH of those movies!
From the claustrophobic scenes like the survivors crawling through debris to get to safety, intense moments like them having to walk through a nest of sleeping creatures slowly (while their oxygen is running out no less), crew members being brutally killed (that implosion scene was insane!) and then of course, the big reveal in the end that no one (including myself) saw coming, Underwater may be inspired by greater films but that doesn’t stop it from effectively delivering a solid addition to that oh so rare sub-genre of subaquatic films. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see it gain some much deserved love in the years to come.
Sommer’s Score: 7 out of 10
So what did you think of Underwater? For part 26 of 31 Days of Horror and my review of Doctor Sleep you can click here. And for more than 100 horror movie reviews and lists you can check out the RMR horror section here.
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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