Underwater is a visually intoxicating claustrophobic thriller that insists on abandoning narrative and character development altogether and engaging fully in making visual chaos look beautiful.
Underwater follows a crew of aquatic researchers who must scramble to safety following an earthquake that destroys their subterranean laboratory. As the crew makes way across the ocean floor, they soon realize they have more than the vast seabed to fear.
Kristen Stewart leads Underwater as Norah Price. Norah is a no-nonsense mechanical engineer and Stewart definitely looks the part. She shaved her head for the role. It was great to see her in a mainstream movie as she has been absent from it for a while now. She offers a portrayal of someone who is so out of her depth. The script doesn't give her much to work with but Stewart has always excelled at working with what she has: Mystery. You never know quite where she is and her characters are like beautiful phantoms. They only show themselves fully when it makes sense.
Underwater is definitely a tribute to James Cameron’s - Alien. Norah Price is supposed to symbolize this generation Ellen Ripley and while dialogue wasn't the filmmaker’s priority in showcasing Norah, Stewart drags all the strength and willpower out of her long enough to at least make it through January's first popcorn thriller.
The cinematography and visual effects really are stunning though. The initial excitement of going somewhere so foreign to us all soon turns to panic. As Underwater goes on, we see the dark visual beauty in the danger that surrounds Norah. Underwater is not a new take on anything but it’s not a remake either. It's more of a celebration of films like it that are more effective at giving equal focus to all aspects of the filmmaking process.
I've looked up and anticipate films for 2020 and all they have to offer. Based on my research, there will be a lot of mainstream cinema designed to make you think for hours afterward. This is something mainstream cinema doesn't do very often. January presents a new opportunity for mainstream moviegoers who usually have their fill of cinema all year long. If you want to escape for about 90 minutes and munch on some popcorn without a care in the world, I’m sure Underwater will appreciate it if you pop over to your local cinema for a friendly visit.