This film had one of the most intriguing trailers I’ve seen in quite some time! Now I’m no fool, I’ve been impressed by a film’s trailer before and then been let down by the actual end result, so I know not to get too carried away by a preview. In the case of Underwater, we have a film that’s mixed but does lean towards the positive side. The first half gets a bit daunting, but once you reach the midpoint, the film’s quality ramps up and it ends on a good note. Like I said, mixed but I did walk out feeling entertained.
Underwater really hits the ground running, we get zero character development or anything, we see Kristen Stewart for a minute and then – BAM! – here comes the disaster. While it’s not an automatic negative for a film to do this, in this case I would have liked just a little introduction to some of the characters and to the world this is in. There are moments of endearment between certain characters that are good friends that don’t really mean a whole lot to the audience since we know little to nothing about them or their relationship.
Another thing that unfortunately brings this film down is a period of time towards the middle where things get somewhat muddled and you get a tad lost. I was worried that things were going to stay on the downward spiral and just tank, thankfully it doesn’t. After that point, it’s nothing but positive and the film becomes a whole lot of fun.
The second half is packed with non stop intensity in terms of action and suspense. There’s one scene in particular where you just can’t help but hold your breath because of what’s going on. While a good bit of Underwater is predictable, I have to give the writers credit for throwing in some interesting surprises in the end. One of the surprises is revealed with a single shot and I was very impressed, mainly because I thought the plot was too tame up to that point and this reveal made things more interesting. The other surprise occurs at the very end and let’s just say it gave the film some deeper meaning for which I was appreciative.
The cast are all good for the most part, with Kristen Stewart and Jessica Henwick being the most impactful. I have to say that I really love Kristen Stewart in this leading role. She handled it with a sense of strength that was necessary. Not only did her strength come across well but she was also able to convey a sense of heart and humanity that made things feel more grounded. Stewart has a great ability to show both sensitivity and strength at the same time and that ability is what ends up making her character likable and memorable.
Jessica Henwick is well cast here. I will admit that at first her character seemed annoying and expendable, but as the film went on, she becomes more of a fixture and she grows on you. Her character comes across as very innocent and she makes you pull for her to be alright. Her and Stewart have a couple of really well done scenes where it’s just the two of them that I appreciated that a lot. These scenes gave the film a heart, especially the second one at the end. T.J. Miller is the stereotypical jokester cool guy in the crew and while it’s a trope that’s common in films such as these, I have to admit that Miller makes you like him in this role. The only member of the cast I wasn’t terribly impressed by is Vincent Cassel. Cassel isn’t bad and he doesn’t necessarily hurt the film, but I did feel a lot more coming out of the other cast members performances, whereas his is just kind of plain Jane.
The last thing i need to mention is the visuals. While a lot of this film’s effects are standard (not astounding but not bad by any means), there are a few shots in particular that i really loved. They use slow motion, light, and sound very well here and it uplifts the overall feel of the scenes. Underwater isn’t great and it might not be terribly memorable but I did leave the theater entertained and the positives end up outweighing the negatives.