Starring Kristen Stewart, Jessica Henwick, Vincent Cassel
Directed by William Eubank
Three months after showing off her action chops in Charlie’s Angels, Kristen Stewart is back in another big studio picture.
Sporting a blonde buzz cut, K-Stew headlines this imaginatively titled Alien-meets-The Abyss creature-feature about a group of scientists trapped at the bottom of the ocean (wait, let’s call the movie — wait for it — Underwater!).
There, they have to deal with depleting oxygen, collapsing debris, existential crises, love confessions, and, oh yes, an effing Krakken-sque monster (which looks like it has escaped from the Trench in Aquaman).
Mixing eco-mindedness (did the drilling and wake the beast up from its slumber?) and shopworn watery shrieks, Underwater plods along in a menacingly murky atmosphere, where it’s hard to tell whether the dimness is by design or the projectionist fell asleep behind the wheel.
Fans of ‘The Long Night’ ep of Game of Thrones might appreciate the ‘moody’ lightning. Others might wonder, is this better if they’d worn night-vision goggles? Either way, it makes the action more confusing and claustrophobic, mostly the former.
But the overall impact is strangely inert. For the same kind of white knuckle thrills, an indie like 47 Meters Down can deliver it — and then some — for a fraction of Underwater’s reported US$80 million (S$108 mil) budget.
The only way Underwater can stand out if it were presented in some next-level VR format that allows the viewer to be totally immersed in the chaos. Now, wouldn’t that be something? (**1/2)
Photo: 20th Century Studios/Disney