Review by Dan Skip Allen
Kristen Stewart has come a long way since her days of the Twilight Franchise. She's been shoehorned in as Bella Swan her whole career, but she has actually had a very eclectic career, choosing mostly very interesting roles. She has done a lot of great things like working with Olivier Assayas on both Personal Shopper and Clouds of Sils Maria or The Runaways where she portrayed Joan Jett. These films have proven she has range as actress, but horror movies haven't been her thing. She chose well with testing the waters in Underwater, proving that she can be a leading lady.
In this occasion, Stewart portrays Norah, a deep sea researcher who has to survive a devastating earthquake to her subterranean laboratory. She and her crew might be facing more than they think.
The rest of the crew is rounded out by some TV and movie veterans. These actors fit well into their roles in this film and worked very well together. Vincent Cassel is the Captain, TJ Miller is the comedic relief, Jessica Henwick portrays Emily and John Gallagher Jr. portrays Smith, who are a couple. Mamoudou Athie also co-stars.
Horror movies usually try to use jump scares to frighten the audience. Underwater succeeds in that regard. The water is dark and you can't see things coming so that makes for scare factors. That aspect of the film was very effective. The characters couldn't see around them even though they had lights so the viewer couldn't either until the last second. Previous water horror movies like Jaws used the unknown as a great equalizer and it works to great effect in Underwater as well. William Eubank, the director, really knew how to use the environment to its full potential.
Underwater was a suspenseful, emotional thrill ride from the very first moment the film started. Once that earthquake started, this film was in full gear. Despite not getting a lot of back story from the main characters, this film was very exciting and entertaining from the start. It was only 95 minutes long, a perfect time span to tell this story. People aren't looking for slow moments in horror movies, they are looking to get scared and Eubank does that to his fullest with this film. Also a very intense score by Marco Belltrami helped intensify the scary moments. This film is worth going Underwater!
Underwater is now playing in theaters.