Now showing: Underwater (M)

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Luke McWilliams gives us his opinion on the science fiction horror film directed by William Eubank, Underwater starring Kristen Stewart and Vincent Cassel.

A mining company attempts to drill seven miles to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest trench in the world. A mysterious, large earthquake suddenly hits, causing catastrophic damage to the station. Mechanical engineer Norah Price (Kristen Stewart) kicks into gear, rounding up her fellow employees to get off the rig.

Alien was an instant classic thanks to the B-movie script from Dan O’Bannon, A-list director Ridley Scott and the terrifying bio-mechanical creature and set designs of HR Giger. HP Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythology was also heavily referenced: themes of cosmic horror including existential dread and nihilistic terror in the vastness, and darkness, of space. Where Scott dropped the ball in his revisit to the Alien franchise, there is still much to be mined in regards to the origins of the species. 2017’s Life was a remake of Alien in a contemporary and realistic fashion, and Underwater is a reimagining: stripping away the franchise trappings and getting back to the original source material.

The mining architecture, bulky deep-sea diving suits and even Stewart’s haircut is straight from a Moebius French graphic novel. Our underwater creatures harken back to Lovecraft’s ‘old-ones’. However, with all the action unfolding at breakneck pace, there is no time to consider the morality of our miners’ actions or the ‘cosmic terror’ that they find themselves in.

Verdict: A good looking, but vapid, creature-feature that ignores the deeper philosophy of a Lovecraft tale.

3 stars

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