Underwater (2020) Movie Review
Brian Duffield and Adam Cozad
Just under two months after the Charlie’s Angels reboot sunk(!) at the box-office, Kristen Stewart gets on the horse boat once again in the underwater thriller/horror movie Underwater which takes place below the surface and under the water.
Not sure why Charlie’s Angels bombed, since it was a pretty fun movie and you people were dumb enough to make that Jumanji sequel a hit.
Apologies. I’m not saying you people were dumb for watching Jumanji 2. I’m saying that Jumanji was dumb and I’m sorry you wasted your money seeing the 16th movie Dwayne Johnson released in 2019 and the 18th movie Johnson co-starred with Kevin Hart that same year.
Since most January releases don’t deserve your time and money, it’s always a surprise to find a movie that’s worth a watch in theaters during the first month of the year. Last week’s Grudge re-whatever was not that movie.
This week’s Underwater is, unless you’re trapped in 90s nostalgia and used a waited 15 minutes to physically print out tickets to Bad Boys Flomax next week. But we’ll talk about that next week using our old AOL account.
Underwater further proves that if you take away those stupid Twilight movies from any Twilight cast member’s filmography, then it’s way more hits than misses. Kristen Stewart once again proves she can act if you give her a decent script. And she can act in a monster movie and never be less than convincing.
Whatever happened to Taylor Lautner?
I think he physically disappeared from the face of the earth once the majority of Twilight fans turned 18. Possibly under an LA freeway selling Breaking Dawn DVDs with a bags of oranges.
“Bags of oranges” feels like the perfect segue into this Underwater review.
Underwater opens with our heroine Norah Price (Kristen Stewart) brushing her teeth. It took me awhile to realize what she was doing because she was using one of those manual ones from 30 years ago instead of an electric one.
Her arms must be so tired.
That’s okay because the rest of her is going to be tired as well.
It should be noted that Norah is an electrical engineer that uses a manual toothbrush. She’s on the job at an underwater drilling facility 7 miles under the sea. Norah better hope her teeth are extra sparkly (like a vampire) clean because it’s the last time she’s going to brush her teeth for a while.
Norah notices there’s a spider on her sink. Which is odd. You know what else is odd? Leaks are starting to spring all over the place.
To reiterate- That’s not good.
It’s not long before lights start to flicker and leaks turn into gushes. “Structure failure is imminent” rings over the speakers on repeat, which is not something you want to hear from Alexa miles underwater. Norah runs into one of her coworkers Rodrigo (Mamoudo Athie) and he’s rightly panicked as well
It should be noted that Rodrigo is black. So he’ll be dead pretty soon.
Norah and Rodrigo scramble around the underground compound looking for other members of the crew. Some of them are dead. Some of them are alive. Let’s meet them before they all die.
- Norah Price (Kristen Stewart)- We’ve already met this mechanical engineer and toothbrush enthusiast. Since she’s the biggest name star in the movie, we’re pretty much expecting her to Final Girl her way to the end credits.
- Rodrigo (Mamoudo Athie)- We’ve already met our lone black person in the cast. He is so f*cked.
- Captain (Vincent Cassel)- He’s the captain and he’s got a 14-year old daughter or maybe she’s older than that. Captain doesn’t know as he’s been underwater so long the hours have turned into years in the blink of an eye. He’s a good captain, except you don’t want to know what he does to manual toothbrushes in his spare time (don’t tell Norah).
- Emily (Jessica Henwick)- She’s the intern. Does that mean she’s not getting paid? Because that would add a new level of suck if she was going to die underwater. (BTW- I’ve been asked by the producers of Underwater to say the word “underwater” as many times as I can during this review so as to drive the title into your consciousness so that even if you skip some meals and time with your kids, you won’t forget that you really want to see Underwater. It’s fine if you avoid Billy’s piano recital. He hates playing piano as much as you hate listening to it. He would prefer it if you saw Underwater with him.)
- Smith (John Gallagher Jr.) – He’s Emily’s boyfriend and he has the worst luck with helmets. He has a fetish for used manual toothbrushes.
- Poole (T.J. Miller)- He’s the designated comic relief because he’s played by T.J. “Fired from Deadpool” Miller.
Seriously? Everyone is this cast/crew is lily white except Rodrigo. This would be a matter for HR if it weren’t for the fact that they’re all dead.
The Captain must lead these fine crew members (except for Rodrigo) to an abandoned drilling facility that’s a couple of miles away where there are whites-only escape pods. That shouldn’t be a problem except for the lack of available power and the facility is losing pressure by the minute. That’s pretty important if you don’t want to be crushed by tons of water.
Fortunately, some of the crew’s pressurized suits are still functional. They’re necessary since everyone has to literally walk the ocean floor in order to get to the other facility
Except now there’s no power as the main drilling facility is now a metal graveyard. In moments it will be buried underwater $.
Now it looks like something is following Norah and her soon-to-be-dead crew. Something that should never have been seen by human eyes. But you know humans and their inability to stop drilling. They just love drilling. There’s something phallic and Harvey Weinstein-y about that but it would be an awkward transition at best.
Thank goodness Rodrigo won’t be around to get eaten by whatever is following them.
What Works With Underwater
- At a shade under 90 minutes, director William Eubank (The Signal) starts the movie with the foot on the gas and never really lets up until the credits roll. There are no draggy and superfluous subplots to weight the production down and the cast is more than game. Eubank knows why you paid for your ticket and gives it to you. Nothing more, nothing less.
- Speaking of getting your money’s worth, the “Roebuck tunnel” sequence has more sustained suspense and genuine scares that the entire running time of last week’s insignificant Grudge reboot. You haven’t had this much monster-y fun since last July’s Crawl. And while Underwater is not quite in the same league as Crawl, it’s close than you’d expect with one of the first “Oh f*ck!” moments of 2020.
What Doesn’t Work With Underwater
- Massively Minor Spoiler- It’s 2020 and the black guy actually dies first. I’m not advocating some fake wokeness, but there are like, 20 other white cast members you could have chosen. I guess it’s good the filmmakers didn’t make Rodrigo a Magical Negro. Progress?
Get yourself wet and watch Underwater. The best movie you’ll see this January unless you have a fetish for talking animals.