The realm of horror, as I have said before, is an avenue that allows the darkest fathoms of the imagination to come to life. Horrors and fears can take on many forms and in some cases the directors capture that terror in the perfect balance. On the other hand, the modern cinema also ruins the genre when cheap gimmicks fail to scare and become the focus. So what is tonight’s film all about? Well Robbie K is here to offer some thoughts and insight as he makes spoiler free review of:
Movie: Underwater (2019)
- The Decent Comedy
- Decent Acting/And Time Worthy Characters
- Great Pace
- Suspense Moments
- Creature Design
- The Atmosphere
- The Story Is Okay
- The Predictability
- T.J. Miller Forced Some Times
- The Chaotic Camera Work at Times
- Suspension Of Disbelief At Times
- The Worthlessness of Most Of the Crew
When it comes to a horror movie you can’t help but want to laugh through the movie. Okay, I need to think of a better transition, but the film succeeds on throwing that comedic relief at just the right moments to help change the energy of the scene. That aside, the real strength of the movie comes in the cohesiveness of all the little parts that this genre thrives on when done right. First the acting! While not award winning, I was very happy to have characters that had more layers than the typical creature fodder Sci Fi Channel has made famous. Underwater’s crew is different though, as Steward leads the bunch in a thrilling adventure that puts science skills to the test. Several members make logical decisions, there is great interaction amidst the crew, and the teamwork they show actually paints characters that are worth investing your time in. And through this adventure, let’s just say there are a lot of things that will test your connection to them. This film moves quickly, a brisk pace that never dwells long enough for boredom, and takes few detours in the quest to escape the denizens of the deep. Mixing well with the pace comes very suspenseful moments that utilize so many special effects to paint the terrifying canvas of the deep in new ways that will insight nightmares. Some of the moments are all about the setting itself, while others integrate the creatures and allow the use of imagination to paint the terror. It works fantastically well, and when the revelation of the creatures finally arises, the design does not fail to impress. Monsters are made of nightmares like this, and they are utilized to a fine degree that does not overshadow the rest of the tale, but still gives you plenty of creature love. Yet what really ties everything for me is the atmosphere itself. Underwater uses its name well, and helps blend the adventure into sections that together form a cataclysmic environment. There are few safe havens in this movie, with the beasts lurking around every corner, and when they aren’t the environment itself is ready to douse the life out of them. Throw in the use of shadows, fantastic sound editing, and again the tease with imagination that designs that environment. Finally, there is actually a point to all the chaos, with a logical connecting line that actually grants purpose to the antics at hand. Underwater takes the familiar story, and changes the acts to help keep the adventure fresh and dynamic.
Amidst all the treasure, there are some rusted metals that tarnish the movie for this reviewer. For one the story is pretty predictable, still following most of the rules and trends that the SyFy channel movies do. A few twists do help stir the sediment up a bit, but you have an idea where it is going. Thankfully, this predictability is lessened due to the intensity of the scenes themselves. As mentioned above, there is comedic relief, and while enjoyable at times, there are other times where the awkward joke is too forced or beaten over the head for it to really work. This works in movies like Deadpool, and while I think it’s curb to show how he is dealing with the stressful situation, there are times I would have liked to see a little more from this character other than another joke.
These are probably minor dislikes for me, so I’ll move on to a few of the things that were more bothersome for me. As many of you know, I’m not the biggest fan of chaotic camera work when it comes to details. While this added to the intensity of the scene, I felt Underwater went a little too crazy at times, using the swirling madness, and shadows a little too much to deprive the details I wanted to see. This aspect improved near the ending, but the middle parts had a hard time finding the balance between stable and maddening angles. Next, the suspension of disbelief sometimes is a little laughable for me in this film. I know, in this genre one must be ready to do this, but hear me out a little. Again with no spoilers, Underwater sort of does not play by its own rules it establishes at the beginning. The creatures behavior is erratic, sometimes being aggressive and other times not, which is sort of explained at the times, but then overwritten for me. Other times it’s about how convenient things work out or don’t work out, which though adds to the intensity of the scene, will in retrospective seem a bit cheesy at how things happen to play out. If this does not bother you or take away from the suspense, no worries then, but near the end in particular is where I particularly found them stretching their convenience muscles a little too far. Finally, though the movie is much better with crafting their characters than other creature features, it still has not quite put the finesse in everyone. For a crew of scientists, drillers, and deep-sea explorers, only one or two really show off the scientific skills that were promised. Kristen Stewart’s character is the most equipped to handle the job and maybe the Captain, but the rest well, they don’t quite hit the mark for epic battles or adventuring that i had anticipated.
Overall, the creature feature is one of the best to emerge from the depths of the Hollywood ocean. Underwater takes us back to the days of classic film storytelling, where a story is designed to tether the scares, special effects of scenery and modern computer work add for decent scare factors, and the intensity of the sequences help net your interest in characters that aren’t just shark fodder like a classic SyFy movie. While there are still some predictability issues, and the suspension of disbelief starts cooking up things, there are not too many issues that most fans of this genre will be affected. Again, I’m not particular fond of chaos swirling camera work, but I again admit it adds to the moments and at least gets balanced. Give all the CGI work, the decent story, and performances, this guy encourages you to head to the theater for this one to enjoy to the most, but if not definitely check it out at home.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 7.0