We drilled to the bottom of the ocean, and we don’t know what came out.
Released in the traditional dump month of January, Underwater(2020) stars Kristen Stewart of Twilight franchise fame as she and a handful of crew members try to flee a deep-water drilling rig, miles below the surface of the ocean. I heard good things and bad things about this movie before I saw it, but based on the trailer I wasn’t entirely enthusiastic about watching it when it got released. However, from the opening scene, I was pleasantly surprised. The film is an intense ride, claustrophobic, lean and filled with good scares.
The film reminded me of 2019‘s Crawl which was partly produced by Sam Raimi, known for the Evil Dead franchise. Like Crawl, Underwater was a very plot-driven movie, light on characters and focused solely on getting the characters from point A to point B. Along the way there are a host of obstacles in the way. In Underwater, these obstacles are the damaged drilling rig with collapsing hallways, open stretches of deep sea terrain between different parts of the various rigs and the films primary antagonists – the underwater deep-ones. Literally, H. P. Lovecraftian monsters.
I was never bored during the movie, although I wasn’t exactly drawn into any of the characters or their backstories. It was all very formulaic with a comic relief character, a ‘final’ girl (Kristen Stewart), a pair of lovers, a traumatized ‘elder’ and a throw-back first death – the ubiquidous ‘black guy dies first’. The cinematography was well done, and the special effects were for the most part decent. Although the underwater scenes, which they clearly played up the murkiness of the deep to get away with little reveals, was a tad noticeable.
Overall, the movie knew what it was, a monster flick with scares and tension. Just like Crawl. For what it was, I enjoyed the film and the ending reveal (spoiler) of the Cthulhu creature (which was foreshadowed by an actual drawing of Lovecraft’s of Cthulhu itself) was an awesome addition. A mainstream horror (released by Disney no less), that features the Lovecraftian mythos. How can you not have some love for such a film? And for the gaming table, the monsters alone were worth the price of admission.
And to start off on those monsters we have the Clingers.