Monday With Mildred: “Underwater”

Underwater movie poster

Underwater

In The Water No One Can Hear You Scream. Especially if you’re more than six miles down. This unimpressively titled movie stars someone who can’t seem to decide if she’s an awful actress (Twilight), a good actress (Lizzy), or a lightweight comedian (Charlie’s Angels). There’s no time to decide which she’s going for here, as the action starts Right Away. She barely has time to finish brushing her teeth when the mining station she’s on goes the way of the dodo and it’s all running and punching questions into a computer somewhere and getting into literally one tight spot after another, and making you respect and like very much the character she’s playing.

Alien is a huge influence in the film, with tropes such as an evil corporation. Don’t worry, that’s all in the opening credits that seem to go on forever, probably because we have several dozen “teasing” clues about them and something down in the deep that keeps killing their people. In the movie proper I heard a distinctive sound effect from Alien, which did make me smile. There is the requisite number of victi…characters who battle to escape the carnage of a disintegrating deep water station while trying not to get killed by whatever The Company hides from not only the world but their own employees. The deep dive suits they wear in the walking around in a stupidly deep place are very space suit-y and also resemble the Alien suits, being bulky and slow. The actors didn’t have to pretend, the things apparently weigh 150 pounds. At least there’s no acid for blood. The station is vaguely similar to the Nostromo, but there was a lot more running around in underwear and looking around fruitlessly with flashlights. Ripley’s panty shot was more risqué, but Stewart’s underwear scenes are poorly explained. Why aren’t the guys in their Speedos, huh?

All the characters are heroic in a normal brilliant scientist guy kind of way, with no whimpering woman in the corner. The story is very straightforward and moves along relentlessly. The underwater sequences – most of the film – are well done and mostly filmed under water. Some are green screen, unfortunately noticeably so. When I said there are tight spots I meant it. There is more than one sequence that will make you scream at the screen, “Don’t go in there, you’ll get stuck!” unless you’re the sort to just chew on your nails at the claustrophobia of it all. I was impressed.

The weakest part for me was that the last twenty minutes or so are very rushed, compared to the fast but evenly paced rest of the movie. This made things get a little confusing, especially as the filmmakers couldn’t seem to decide if they were going to throw even more backstory in or just stay with the killing and the running in bulky spacesuits for the exit sign.

Underwater is an old fashioned monster movie that has recalled the viewer doesn’t need a lengthy life history of all the characters. They’re there to be killed, and the viewer is there to be thrilled and grossed out and maybe make some side bets on who lives through it, or if anyone does. For a good popcorn movie to share with friends who don’t require deep thought or high drama to have a good time, this is for you.

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