“Underwater takes a spin on the limits of man’s achievements and depicts the frightening results of our will to bite off more than we can chew.”
William Eubank brings us a horror thriller in the style of Alien (1979) and Life (2017), with a stranded team of scientists and mechanics facing unprecedented challenges in the deepest place on Earth. His newest vision takes us into the darkness and solitude of the Mariana’s Trench in the Pacific Ocean, where scientists have started drilling farther than they ever have before. Norah Price (Kristen Stewart) and her colleagues Captain Lucien (Vincent Cassel), Paul (T.J Miller), Smith (John Gallagher Jr) and Emily (Jessica Henwick) have been living on the Kepler station at the bottom of a seven mile deep pit for months. They have been recruited to keep the drilling project going, but all hell breaks loose after an earthquake and they have to gather forces and get back to the surface.
Underwater is an immersive and intense dive into depths unknown. With the one-minded purpose of surviving the many dangers they are confronted with, the characters latch onto hope, be it someone they miss, someone they are trying to stay alive for or simply a reason to hold on a little while longer. Eubank and his team find the perfect balance between action-packed sequences and quiet, almost deafening scenes of reflection and suspense.
The environment in which the characters evolve keeps expanding, from the underwater space shuttle to the entirety of the station, and finally to the somber immensity of the Ocean’s lowest point. As a viewer we get to experience this journey first-hand, as the camerawork gets under the skin of Norah and enables us to see things from the other characters’ points of view as well. The use of lighting adds to the mystery of Underwater, and with flickering warning blinkers and swift dim brushes of flashlights, the viewer is drawn in just enough to want more but grows apprehensive enough to hold their breath.
In light of the ongoing conversation about climate change and environmental issues, Eubank gives his film a higher meaning when, undergoing all the hardships, Henwick’s character reflects on the lengths that humans can resort to before the damage is irreversible, stating that the reason everything is going wrong is because they were not meant to dig this deep, and that this is a place where no man should ever have set foot in the first place. It is a statement none of the characters add to, in thought, regret on all their faces.
To sum it all up, Underwater is a solid thriller which will keep you on the edge of your seat, and its underlying message paves the way for a more environmentally aware kind of storytelling.
Director : William Eubank
Producers : Peter Chernin, Tonia Davis, Jenno Topping
Cast : Kristen Stewart, Vincent Cassel, T.J Miller
Release Date : 2020
Available in theaters now!