Underwater is another of those films that makes writing a review not the most enviable of chores. It’s not a particularly awful film so you can’t have a good time goofing on it and it’s so far removed from being a good film one certainly can’t heap praise on it. It’s the precisely the type of film that we’ve come to expect to be released after the holidays have come and gone. Presumably having been moved from a more desirable date after test screenings proved unsatisfactory and released instead unceremoniously in the cinematic dead zone of January.

Kristen Stewart is a capable actress when given the right project. It’s a real mystery as to why she would waste her talents in such a thankless and formulaic vehicle as Underwater. The only explanation might be that she’s choosing to do one blockbuster type of film in order to get the financing for a more personal project down the road. That’s the only logical excuse for her appearance in the film. Most of her acting consists of a facial expression that would indicate intestinal distress in the majority of people. Maybe that’s just her reaction at realizing what she had gotten herself into by signing on to the project in the first place.

Kristen Stewart in Underwater

To state that the story is derivative would be an understatement. It reminds one of Ridley Scott’s original Alien, had it been directed by a craftsman with one quarter of Scott’s talent. A title card alerts us to some mumbo jumbo about a research project in an underwater vessel and we’re off to the races. Said vessel loses much of its crew after a near catastrophic earthquake but that proves to be the least of their worries when a malevolent alien force of some sort and its parent rear their heads.

Underwater does have some impressive design. At least when the sets are clearly visible, which really isn’t that often since the film often looks as if a muddy film was applied to the camera lens. Underwater looks grimy more often than not and this also does it no favors. The film is credited to director William Eubanks but it might as well have been directed by the host of the Newlywed Game, Bob Eubanks, for all of the sense of style he brings to the proceedings. The best thing you can say is that at least the actors are kept in frame. Had the story been more interesting I probably wouldn’t have noticed but since there’s scant little else to occupy your time then taking note of the framed image is about all there is to do.

Underwater is playing locally.
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