Updated: Jul 19, 2021
The 286th review!
So here’s a fun story. Facebook doesn’t save notes as drafts anymore. I finished editing my video yesterday and when I went to go post the script, it was gone! I had to listen and transcribe the whole thing which was super annoying. (deep breath) On a lighter note I decided to check out...
Underwater (2020) Family Video rental
I had seen the trailer and was pretty “meh” about it, but then discussions started to populate on a Reddit board that I frequent and I officially became intrigued. The movie opens with a buzzed-cut Kristen Stewart contemplating her life as part of an underwater drilling team at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the Earth. You can barely get your socks up before the shit hits the fan. In fact, she’s barefoot the entire movie! In the first five minutes the action happens, it’s so sudden and it’s so shocking it immediately sets the tone. It was a ballsy move to put everything in motion before we really meet anybody, but I liked it, you know the stakes immediately. Get out now, or pieces of you will end up floating to the surface.
She, and a ragtag group of survivors eventually make it to the bridge where the captain is looking forlornly as he already sent off 20 people in escape pods. He tells them their only chance of escape is to walk on the ocean floor to get to the drill site and hitch a ride on the escape pods there because the station they’re in is about to blow.
At this point, I have no idea what’s going on, we, the audience, know as much as the crew does and they believe it was an earthquake. At this point I’m really into the movie. We had no time for character development so we just get different people plopped into the story, and you know what? I really enjoyed that aspect. Kristen Stewart is very good in this movie and the supporting characters are all solid as well. The stoic captain, the in love research assistant and dude (I can’t remember his job, oh well it wasn’t important to the story) and TJ Miller playing, of course TJ Miller only this time, he’s underwater. As an aside, it makes me really sad he’s a nut job, he makes everything he’s in better. Even if he always plays the same character, it’s a fun character!
In my reviews I talk about not wanting to spoil anything and it goes double for this movie. Part of the fun of this movie is watching and learning at the same time the rest of the crew does. It’s extremely tense because the setting is unbelievably dangerous. Once they get outside there’s a close up of Stewart’s face where she’s scanning the abyss she’s at the bottom of. It’s so incredibly vast and so dark it makes for a great visual and you can feel the same awe and dread that Stewart’s character is feeling. Also, just throwing this out there, their pressurized suits are awesome! They look almost exactly like the COG armor from “Gears of War.” I half expected Marcus Fenix to start yelling and chainsawing everything in site.
I’m digging the “race against the clock in complete darkness” movie I’m watching, when all of a sudden in turns into a creature feature. They’re being stalked by some type of new monster that keeps popping up. You don’t get a good look at them at first, mainly just some blurry thing swimming too fast to be seen, but it makes for some very tense sequences. They’re underwater in these massive suits being hunted by creatures that are incredibly fast and strong, they know at any second they all could be dead.
Now let me get to the kills. They’re so brutal and gruesome because you have to think about where they’re at. They’re more than six miles underwater. The slightest tear in their suits instantly pops them like a balloon. It creates so many scary moments because any drop of water, any crack, any person falling can mean an instant and extremely bloody death. The first on camera death is a highlight because it’s so sad, the man is just resigned to his fate and then BOOM, it happens so fast you can’t even process it.
One thing I have to say that is pretty cool is, much like Alien, it flips the gender roles. While Alien you don’t know at first that Ripley is the hero, Stewart takes command at the jump. Also, there’s a scene where the attractive research assistant is told she can’t wear pants inside her suit. So she starts undoing her belt and the camera seamlessly switches behind someone bending over and pulling down their pants. You assume it’s the girl because where the camera was at and the person is wearing bikini-style panties, but it’s actually a close up of TJ Miller’s ass and it’s really funny because you know that was done for the sole reason of messing with you. There’s also a male character that’s the dead weight, literally being dragged by his girlfriend near the end. I like when movies can play with people’s expectations the way this one does.
But to be honest, I felt like the movie started to drag its feet a little bit, but that all changes when they reach the drill site. I’m being very careful not to give anything away, but I want everyone to be as surprised as I was here. To make it to the door, they have to get through a whole bunch of those creatures from earlier. One of them wakes up and there is just an incredibly bad ass scene involving Kristen Stewart and a very large one of them. But then...
Oh. My. God.
Bear with me here, and I’m not trying to overhype this, but this movie manages to give us the greatest monster reveal ever. Stewart fires a flare gun up into the darkness and what it illuminates is just incredible. The more we see of the thing the cooler it looks and everything started to click for me. I was studying the creature, hoping it was what I thought it was, then I read the director confirmed my hopes and now I like this movie a whole bunch more. I mean, it’s not just the fact that this is the creature I thought it was, it just looks so fucking cool!
It’s so well done. The movie starts off with a literal bang and you keep seeing these creatures so you think they’re the problem, but at the end you see just how terrifying the situation really is. There’s also many dangling plot threads about the company they work for that makes it all the more interesting. I’m going to encourage you now, if you have any interest in seeing this movie, don’t read ahead and don’t try to find pictures of the creature. The ride to get to end is so much more satisfying if you’re like Frank Costanza and you go in fresh.