(director/writer: William Eubank; screenwriters: Brian Duffield/Adam Cozad; cinematographer: Bojan Bazelli; editors: Brian Berdan, Willliam Hoy, Todd E. Miller; music: Marco Beltrami, Brandon Roberts; cast: Kristen Stewart (Norah Price), Mamoudou Athie (Rodrigo), Vincent Cassel (Captain Lucien), T.J. Miller (Paul), Jessica Henwick (Emily), John Gallagher Jr. (Smith), Gunner Wright (Lee); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Peter Chernin, Tonia Davis, Jenno Topping; 20th Century Fox; 2020)


Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The almost good but not quite so good action monster film is nevertheless somewhat entertaining as a silly knockoff B film. It was made three years ago and left on the shelf until just released. The derivative sci-fi thriller is directed and written by William Eubank (“The Signal”). It attempts to follow the winning Alien formula. Eubank’s co-writers are Brian Duffield and Adam Cozad who, for the most part, keep things soggy and too close to other similar underwater ventures to maintain any freshness.

Norah (Kristen Stewart) has close-cropped dyed whitish-yellow hair, and is seen in her undies for most of the pic. She’s a mechanical engineer who is one of a team of researchers in a corporate sponsored undersea station in the Mariana Trench. The rig is seven miles beneath the surface of the ocean, and the living conditions are claustrophobic.

The crew is in dire straits after Norah brushes her teeth and the rig is hit by an apparent earthquake. The crew suspect the cause of the breach is related to their drilling team hitting something buried that should have remained buried. While dealing with so much destruction and lives lost, the reveal is that the cause of the catastrophe were the awakening of giant jelly fish types of sea creatures with real big teeth. The stressed rig survivors, consisting of the captain (Vincent Cassel) and crew (Jessica Henwick, Mamoudou Athie, John Gallagher Jr., T.J. Miller) are getting picked-off one at a time. So Norah and the above-mentioned rig survivors make their way to an abandoned outpost for safety. To get there they must deal with such things as the changing air pressure and faulty diving equipment.

The life lesson on greed is delivered by an upset marine biologist who screams: “We took too much! We’re not supposed to be down here!”.

That the crew stays underwater too long until things become too murky and the jump scares are really not that scary, make this a disappointing film I think I saw before.

Kristen Stewart in Underwater.

REVIEWED ON 1/26/2020  GRADE: C+  https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/