Reed Alexanders's Horror Review of 'Underwater' (2020)
2020 is not off to the best start...
I was super worried I've have to apologizes to Kristen Stewart for all of the jokes I've made about her acting career. I've compared a lot of the worst acting in horror to Ms. Stewart and I never exactly let up on her for her involvement in Twilight. I'm low key kinda glad this movie wasn't as good as it looked in the previews, because now I don't have to apologize.
To be fair, she did okay as her performance was good enough for horror. There weren't any bad actors and the dialog was pretty solid, save Stewart's exit speech which was corny as hell. So yeah, she did a solid job and she can be proud of that! She's come a long way from the monotone acting that was more like shitty spoken word. It's good to watch her grow as a performer and Twilight is a hell of a hole to dig yourself out of. Underwater isn't going to do that for Stewart, but it will help her ascend from the depths of sparkling vampires.
I want to point out, I was also seriously worried that this movie was going to be a better version of the book I just got done writing. THANK FUCKING GOD they are nothing alike, because frankly my story is better and I don't want people associating my book with this movie! So let me say it loud and clear, while this movie was likely written before I wrote Parabyosis, Parabyosis WAS NOT inspired by this movie. I finished writing that months ago, and I just saw this movie today, 1/12/20.
I'm actually gonna take a moment to explain why my book is better than this movie. First, the science in my book is way better researched, it's about angler-fish (hence the name), the characters are more interesting, and the plot is more interesting. SHAMELESS PLUG!!! Look out for Parabyosis coming late 2020 to Madness Heart Press.
The science in this movie is also really bad. I found myself constantly annoyed by the flippant designs of the set and the costumes. I also found the way things imploded to be off and annoying. People, we're talking about 1000 atmospheres of pressure. A structure at that depth requires simplicity, and certainly no fucking concrete. You can't make a stable structure out of concrete at 1000 atmospheres of pressure. But hey, this is horror, suspend all disbelief.
They did do a pretty solid job with the movie's atmosphere and the set design lend quite a bit to that, so it's forgivable. The tension was also pretty solid. Every scene basically leaves you waiting for something to go catastrophically wrong. While some moment are a bit too silly, and that does detract from the suspense, over all it was pretty decent and they never really let up on the tension. So the atmosphere is right and the suspense is solid.
There was... quite a lot of crappy CGI that also detracted from the movie. More on that in the spoilers. What's frustrating about the FX, is that they did so many really good practical FX, and they took their set design very seriously, but then phoned it in on the CGI.
I am going to recommend this, but like my review of The Void, only just barely. I wasn't expecting much, so I wasn't disappointed, but I still somehow feel let down. Horror Heads and Riffers only. Definitely not a 'must watch' and if it manages to make it on my all time top list, it'll be down in the 50's, somewhere. Likely near Deep Star Six. Me and my wife spent most of the movie making fun of it, and at points even pretended to try and fast forward through some scenes with invisible remotes.
C'thulu at the bottom of the see. I think, whoever did the design for the primary organism was trying to reinvent the wheel on C'thulian design, and failed. Frankly, it was kinda chuncy. It does look an awful lot like C'thulu, but it behaves a lot more like Dagon. There are these creatures that sorta live on it, almost like humanoid barnacle people (I do appreciate the design of these secondary organisms). It was a lot like the creature from Cloverfield that also had things living on it. There was a pretty cool scene involving these secondary organisms, where one swallows Kristen Stewart whole... still a better love story than Twilight.
Here's my problem outside of the lazy design of the primary organism, if they knew they were going to phone it in on the CGI, maybe they shouldn't have showcased these things quite so clearly. They had a good environment to hid them in which could have prevented this embarrassment.
The final scene is what drives home the lukewarm performance. Kristen Stewart gives a sort of 'goodbye soliloquy' and it was pretty fucking corny. Up until that point, she was doing just fine, but I don't think she was ready for a monologue. T. J. Miller would have likely delivered a better outro, but he dies halfway through. Also, 'Black Guy Dies First.' What the actual fuck...
There was still a lot to like about the movies, regardless of all the letdowns, problems, and unforgivable horror tropes. But I have to say, it wasn't really worth the movie theater ticket, even at matinee prices.
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