Director: William Eubank
Writers: Brian Duffield and Adam Cozad
Solid: Kristen Stewart, Mamoudou Athie, Vincent Cassel, TJ Miller
Cinematographer: Bojan Bazelli
Editors: Brian Berdan, William Hoy, Todd E. Miller
Streaming on: Disney+ Hotstar
Proper off the bat, Underwater desires you to realize it isn’t going to waste any time on exposition. The rapidfire opening credit lay out the premise through newspaper headlines — unexplored drilling zone…Mariana Trench…business to drill at report depth…excessive threat. It’s sufficient to get the image.
Below the ocean, the pressures are psychological (loneliness, isolation) in addition to literal. The movie begins with a voiceover pondering the previous — “Once you’re underwater, you lose all sense of day and night time,” mechanical engineer Norah (Kristen Stewart) intones — however shortly plunges into the latter because the rig she’s stationed at begins to break down. The setup unfolds at breakneck pace. Inside seconds, she’s compelled to contemplate sealing off an space, a selection that will save her from drowning, however kill these trapped on the opposite aspect.
Surrounded by particles, Norah and drill employee Rodrigo (Mamoudou Athie) discover different surviving crew members and resolve their greatest plan of action is to get to a close-by station earlier than their facility explodes fully. The movie expertly engineers conditions across the disintegrated rig to set off a number of particular fears. Germaphobes may wish to look away whereas the digital camera tracks Norah’s naked ft as she wades via water that Rodrigo helpfully informs her is sewage. Those that are claustrophobic may wish to keep away from a scene through which the crew crawls via partially collapsed shafts agonisingly squeezing ahead, inch by inch. Stewart channels her naturally brittle edginess into her character, framed in tight close-ups as her rising unease manifests via shaky breaths and a clenched jaw.
Director William Eubank crafts an immersive ambiance, with dim lighting, tight corridors and minimal sound. The movie’s plot stays brisk and easy, even because the crew’s path is something however, and pushes on with none meandering subplots. Transient flashes of humour punctuate the life-or-death stakes. We would like you to know you’re not simply a part of a staff, you’re a part of our household is the automated fake cheery message that performs on loop moments after Norah and Rodrigo emerge from the wreckage, successfully remoted from the world, and seconds earlier than they discover out that the crew members took off with all of the escape pods. A lot for household.
There’s even an anti-suit up scene. Whereas one other movie may’ve had a montage of its grimly decided characters placing on their pressurized fits to a steel soundtrack, right here, the frightened, agitated crew stare stonily till one among them turns the music off.
The movie’s weakest moments are when it pauses the characters’ journey to allow them to regroup and reassess their scenario. The joys and urgency of the perilous underwater trek immediately deflates and the ambiance turns into listless. Out of issues to debate, the crew begins speaking in heavy-handed metaphors. “We drilled to the underside of the ocean. We took an excessive amount of, now she’s taking again,” says one member. For a most half, nonetheless, they’re an affable bunch that you just root for.
Underwater absolutely mines the terrors of the deep, switching from survival drama to creature characteristic halfway, a transfer that feels fully believable. What’s yet another terrifying factor in an extended checklist of them? It stays compelling for the remainder of its runtime because the characters discover themselves being hunted and picked off, one after the other, throughout the desolate vastness of the ocean ground. Whereas components may call to mind Alien (1979), with Kristen Stewart as Ripley, there’s sufficient right here that’s contemporary. The movie leans into its eco-thriller nature, with a climax that implies perhaps capitalism was the true monster all alongside.