Kristen Stewart tries to escape from the bottom of the ocean (seven miles down!) in Underwater, a movie that looks and sounds a bit like Alien, but isn’t nearly as good.
Kudos to director William Eubank for getting things off to a hot start with an earthquake that cripples a deepwater drilling operation in the Mariannes Trench.
This handy disaster introduces us to Norah Price (K-Stew), a plucky technician with a strong survival instinct. Norah and a handful of crew members (including Vincent Cassell as the captain), begin a long, arduous quest to reach another part of the failing facility in their pressure suits.
To complicate matters, there are also chittering, tentacled sea creatures, led by a Cthulhu-esque Big Daddy, making passage exceedingly difficult for the stranded aquanauts.
Despite achieving some tight claustrophobic moments, and devoting a generous block of screen-time to Norah strolling about the wreckage in her knickers, Underwater never really rises to the occasion, settling for stock characters in danger from an unknown species and unstable tectonics.
While there is some attempt to add “heart” to the narrative by having Norah dutifully collect mementos from her fallen comrades in order to have something for their families, it reads trite and maudlin.
Without giving away all the particulars of the ending, watching Norah fight so valiantly on behalf of her corporate overlords in an environment they shouldn’t have violated in the first place, leaves a bad aftertaste.
As for the unknown species, Norah wisely obliterates it.
“What a bunch of colonialist, slash and burn bullshit,” my wife complained during the credits. “Yes, by all means, let’s nuke the ocean.”
Leave this one in Davy Jones Locker next to DeepStar Six.