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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Review: Underwater

Director: William Eubank
Screenplay: Brian Duffield and Adam Cozad
Year: 2020

The ocean’s seabed is still one of the mysteries that intrigue us humans. Its wide expansion and the little knowledge that currently exists about some of the deepest places raises curiosity, as well as proposing an ideal scenario for a horror movie because of the fact that humans are generally afraid of the unknown and the lack of knowledge gives way to creativity. Clearly influenced by “Alien” and the works of H. P. Lovecraft, “Underwater” uses this scenario to develop a terrorific survival story against the natural elements, as well as from unknown creatures.

A group of scientists and engineers work in an underwater research facility where they drill the seabed looking for resources. After an earthquake, the facility is greatly affected, putting everyone inside the place at risk, who must find a way to get out of there before it all collapses. While they try to escape the place, they start discovering that the seabed has more surprises than what they could have imagined.

"Underwater" doesn't waste time in getting the viewer into its plot and even when it uses the opening scene to present the movie credits, at the same time it's used to present blueprints and news to establish the plot and where it takes place. A few minutes later, when the protagonist has been barely shown, director William Eubank (“The Signal”) and writers Brian Duffield (“The Babysitter”) and Adam Cozad (“The Legend of Tarzan”) throw us straight into the problem. What seems to be an earthquake severely affects an underwater research facility and the survivors must find a way out of there. 

Adrenaline starts flowing at the same speed as the action and sense of survival while the protagonist tries to escape the chaos that has broken down in the facility. Through the decision making and problem resolution, we get to know the personalities of the protagonists, reducing exposition time and maintaining the rhythm of the movie. Being constantly found in reduced spaces maintains the sense of claustrophobia, which doesn't lessen even when the protagonists are exposed to the seabed thanks to the great use of lights and darkness. 

Without a doubt, there will be plenty of curiosity around this movie concerning the previous acting of Kristen Stewart (“The Twilight Saga”), but to the bad luck of her haters, she does and interpretation that without being great, she fulfills her role without stick out from the rest of the cast, comprised of Jessica Henwick (“Game of Thrones”), Vincent Cassel (“Black Swan”), and John Gallagher Jr. (“10th Cloverfield Lane”), who do a good job. The technical aspect of this movie is its greatest strength, proven by the excellent sound design and supported by the impressive visuals. Also, the creature is not shown much, keeping the suspense and sense of danger, but when it is shown, the design is horrific. 

“Underwater” uses the creature feature formula perfectly to create atmosphere and keep tension, as well as to keep the attention of the viewer. The care for the technical aspect, mainly the visuals and sounds, is its best presentation card, without neglecting the rhythm and the plot build-up, as well developed as the sense of claustrophobia and perpetual danger. A pleasant surprise that was expected to be another January flop.

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