2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

Underwater has a unique place in history. Not because of its originality or being groundbreaking cinema, but because it is the conclusion to an era. This film from director William Eubank (The Signal) is the final movie to be released under the 20th Century Fox label. A sad end to the studio’s history, but historic none the less. A film where every concept from Alien to The Creature from the Black Lagoon to Godzilla is incorporated with the hope that something magical might rise to the surface. Sadly, this studio’s mash-up finale turns out to be a confusing shipwreck. 

Kristin Stewart (Charlie’s Angels) leads this cast of the ill-fated underwater mining team of Tian Industries, who work 11 kilometres (7 miles) below the surface of the ocean. While digging in the Mariana Trench, their facility experiences a tremendous earthquake that devastates the majority of the facility and leaves only a few of the workers alive. 

Norah Price (Stewart) is a mechanical engineer who manages to find a few survivors who work their way to the escape pods bay of the facility. They discover Captain Lucien (Vincent Cassel) has jettisoned the last of the functional pods, thinking he needs to do his duty and go down with the ship. (Wait a minute, it is not a sailing vessel and there are still others on board.) 

Norah and the captain must guide the remaining crew members to the only remaining escape pods that are on the adjoining facility, the Roebuck Station 641. To get to the station, the team must walk one mile in pressurised suits in the dark recesses of the ocean floor. It is while they make their way through the murky depths that they realise that the explosion was not caused by an earthquake. The cause of the destruction was due to sea creatures who had been released during the mining process. 

The danger level and terror grows with each step towards their only means of escape from the drilling structure. Between the limitations of their suits, the lack of oxygen available to them and the unknown attacks that begin to occur on their journey to the final stage of survival, it is hard to know who will escape the watery tomb of this perilous expedition. 

Things happen quickly as the facility’s destruction occurs within five minutes of the opening credits. It is understood that the need to survive does provide the team with a unified direction. This provides little time to care about any of the characters. Even though some of the roles are entertaining, Kristin Stewart proves to be the least interesting of the lot.

Most of the characters serve a purpose in the story with TJ Miller (Deadpool) as the comic relief, Vincent Cassel is the reliable and misunderstood leader and the two love-struck crew members providing some emotional tension. The goal of the writers seems to be to set Stewart up as the Ridley-like character (Alien), but the Twilight actress lacks the charisma of Sigourney Weaver. She does seem to know which buttons to push at each door, but it is difficult to see why anyone would follow her into the abyss.   

What begins as an underwater remake of the Alien series with an underlying environmental message, quickly turns into an inexplicable mess of confusing timelines and genre identity. Eubank manages to bring together a crew that have chemistry and fill all of the typical personalities found in sci-fi horror which provide some intrigue into their lives. 

The challenge is that once the water-based creatures are introduced, things become confusing and each layer of the story brings in more significant problems for the crew and the overall visual experience. Moving from suspense-filled adventure to a silly monster film that defies all logic. Without spoiling the conclusion, let’s say ‘bigger isn’t better.’ Unfortunately, like the mining structure around them, the story begins to fall in on itself and crushes any hope for this production. 

What an unfortunate film to close the door on the 20th Century Fox legacy. At least they can bury this project at the bottom of the ocean, forget it ever happened and move onto the new 20th Century Studios era at Disney. 

REEL DIALOGUE: Wouldn’t life be better if we did not have trials? 

Throughout our life on this earth, we strive to find comfort and seek after the least painful means of living. From pain medication to air-conditioning, life in the western world can be relatively pain-free, but is this the true ideal?

Looking back at history, mankind continues to prove that trials can bring out the best in us. Few people seek out difficulties in their lives because they come without having to look for them. When confronted by these challenges, the personal development and testimonies generally show what individuals have within themselves. 

This is evident in biblical history, also. Each book of the Old Testament and New Testament show that life tribulations can provide true growth for the people of the past and these lessons can be a gift for us today. This is epitomised in the life and times of Jesus whose painful end brought forward the answer for all of our difficulties. 

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10