- Film & TV
- 20 Feb 20
Sci-Fi horror flick drowns in cliché.
The title is entirely accurate: director William Eubanks’ film does indeed take place entirely underwater. And the first 20 minutes are tense and atmospheric, setting the movie up to be a precise and pacy B-movie. Kristen Stewart – an actress way out of this film’s league (sorry) – plays Norah, a mechanical engineer on an undersea station of a giant oil rig. When water starts crashing through the station’s long corridors, Eubanks creates a brilliantly oppressive atmosphere. As Norah and a few other survivors squeeze through the ever-encroaching debris and wriggle through narrow passages, the soundscape fills with the screeching of crushing metal, ominous drips of leaking water, and the groans of a structure compacting under the weight of the ocean.
The mission’s captain (Vincent Cassel) comes up with an outrageous plan: to don clunky deep-sea diving suits and walk along the bottom of the ocean to the drill station, where they can access escape pods. But here, the film’s adherence to outdated clichés begins to emerge.
One of the crew finds a monster foetus and brings it onboard. Stewart and her only female co-star, Jessica Henwick, “have” to strip to their underwear. They can also only talk about their boyfriends. The black guy dies first. Everyone has a manipulatively tragic backstory. TJ Miller is the supposed comic relief. Underwater wrapped in 2017 before Miller was charged with issuing a false bomb threat and alleged to have committed a sexual assault, which could explain the delay in the film’s release. Along the way, stale shocks and a silly monster emphasise the film’s lack of originality.