Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||William Eubank|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$17.6 million|
Underwater is a 2020 American science fiction horror film directed by William Eubank and written by Brian Duffield and Adam Cozad. The film is produced by Chernin Entertainment and stars Kristen Stewart, Vincent Cassel, Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher Jr., Mamoudou Athie, and T.J. Miller. It follows a group of scientists at the bottom of the ocean who encounter a group of creatures after a mysterious shaking destroys their laboratory.
Underwater was released in the United States on January 10, 2020, by 20th Century Fox. It was the final film to be released under the 20th Century Fox name before Walt Disney Studios changed its name to 20th Century Studios on January 17, 2020. It received mixed reviews from critics and has grossed $17 million worldwide.
Plot ***SPOILER ALERT***
Tian Industries’ intends to drill seven miles to the bottom of the Mariana Trench for resources. A large earthquake hits, and a section of the Kepler 822 Station starts to suffer a catastrophic breach from the pressure. Norah Price, a mechanical engineer, and Rodrigo are able to escape the area and close it off, temporarily preventing further damage to the Kepler. They rescue Paul as they make their way to the escape pod bay. However, the three discover that all of the escape pods have already been deployed, with Captain Lucien being the only person in the area when the three arrive.
The surviving crew reach a control base and find biologist Emily Haversham and engineer Liam Smith, who are unsuccessful in their attempts to make contact with the surface. Lucien recommends that they put on pressurized suits and walk one mile across the ocean floor to the Roebuck Station 641. They start to emerge from the station into a cargo elevator, but Rodrigo’s helmet is faulty and cracks from the pressure, killing him instantly. The surviving crew see a distress beacon from one of the escape pods below, and Smith and Paul go outside to investigate. As Smith and Paul arrive at the location, the pod has been ripped open and a body lies in the rubble. Paul inspects the body, only for a hatchling creature to emerge from it and attack him. Smith is able to shoot and kill it with a bolt gun, and they bring it inside. Studying the creature’s body, Haversham realizes it is a part of a previously undiscovered species. The five begin to set out towards the Roebuck Station, but as they are walking, the Kepler explodes, causing debris to fly toward them. Smith is hit by the debris, but Price and Lucien manage to save him and bring him inside. They are able to make it to the meet-point station by taking an access tunnel, allowing them to charge and clean their suits, but find that Smith’s oxygen source is badly damaged from the debris. As they make their way through the access tunnel, Paul is attacked by an unknown creature and is dragged underwater before being ripped out of his suit and killed.
Before leaving the access tunnel, the team discover that Smith’s damaged oxygen pod will cause him to have to breathe in toxic fumes from the explosion. Unwilling to leave another crew member behind, Price, Lucien and Haversham agree to help him walk, dragging him if they have to. The remaining four crew members press on and start their walk across the ocean floor, but a humanoid creature appears, dragging Smith into a cave. Lucien manages to pull Smith out, but then tries to go for Smith’s bolt gun, allowing the creature an opportunity to drag Lucien up through the water and away from the other three. Price is dragged along with Lucien, but when the creature begins ascending, Lucien sacrifices himself so that Price may escape the increasing change in pressure. Price ends up at the abandoned Shepard Station and finds that Lucien worked there beforehand, causing suspicion as to what Lucien really knew about these creatures and their involvement with the drilling stations. Price tries to make contact with Smith and Haversham, but to no avail. She then gets a new pressurized suit and leaves the Shepard, continuing toward the Roebuck. Walking along the ocean floor, Price reunites with Haversham, dragging Smith towards the Roebuck Station, and proceeds to help. As they enter the station, they notice that there is a nest of the humanoid creatures hanging from the ceiling and try to sneak by, but Haversham’s suit, low on oxygen, begins to make noise, causing one of them to wake up and attack Price. Price is partially swallowed by one of the creatures, but is able to kill it and break free. Before more of the creatures can attack, an enormous creature reveals itself and causes an explosion. Haversham rescues Price and they continue their way into the Roebuck.
The three are able to reach the escape pod bay, but Price discovers that only two work, with a third being damaged and unusable. Price and Haversham manage to get an ailing but still alive Smith into one of the pods, and Price eventually convinces Haversham to take the last one. As this is happening, the gigantic alpha creature allegedly responsible for attacking and destroying their rig earlier, Cthulhu, emerges from around the Roebuck surrounded by even more of the humanoid creatures. The creatures start to follow the two escape pods, while Cthulhu begins to attack the Roebuck. Price, knowing she is already going to die, raises the energy levels of the core engines so that they explode, killing the creatures and allowing the escape pods to reach the surface. The film ends with images of newspaper articles depicting Tian Industries and their attempts to cover up the incident, which includes keeping Haversham and Smith’s testimonies classified. The company goes on to say that they intend to expand their drilling efforts.
- Kristen Stewart as Norah Price
- Vincent Cassel as Captain Lucien
- T.J. Miller as Paul Abel
- Jessica Henwick as Emily Haversham
- John Gallagher Jr. as Liam Smith
- Mamoudou Athie as Rodrigo Nagenda
- Gunner Wright as Lee Miller
Underwater could have been great. They skipped the whole “getting to know the crew” part of the plot, leaving no backstory. We jump right into disaster after disaster, but they never establish why we should care if these characters survive over the others dying all around them. I did not care one whit if the main character died because I knew NOTHING about her or her motivation, other than just to survive.
Anyway, it could have been amazing, but it would have to be thirty minutes longer, and the story start before they go 7 miles deep. Not right when crap goes bad, so we get no sense of normal life at depth.
3 stars at best. I’d wait until it hits Prime, or cable. -MR