Underwater is The Movie That Floats Above

Kristen Stewart and Vincent Cassel in Underwater

By Richard Heaton

Underwater is a very unique film. It has lots of great moments that make it better than the trailers make it look, but at the same time, the film also suffers from multiple failures.

One aspect of Underwater that suffers from being both good and bad is character development. There are plenty of scenes that make you scratch your head. For example, the character that dies first also happens to be one of the characters that’s hyped up the most at the start of the film.

That’s a bad move for films. Why build up a character to the point of them being one of the two biggest stars, but then you kill them off in a very lazy way? That’s bad filmmaking right there.

 Paul, played by T.J. Miller, breaks multiple clichés within the horror genre. Paul’s personality and behavior makes him fit in with a certain kind of character, the ones that everyone laughs at in horror films and the ones who usually die first because they really serve no purpose. 

That was exactly what his character was, but at the same time, his storyline was much stronger than what it really should have been and that made him a more likable character. 

But after Paul is gone, the next person to be killed off is the captain, and it really doesn’t fit. The directors added an entire event and a scene of dialogue to set-up his death and the emotional effect it has on the main character played by Kristen Stewart.

His death to begin with makes no sense. The story would have been better had they simply not had these scenes in the movie. If a creature killed him, it would have made more sense than what was chosen. The filmmakers also used the event as an excuse to separate the main characters into two groups. 

This right here is bad storytelling. Stewart’s character had to explain to the rest of the team that the captain was dead when she found them. The film would have been much better if they were all together, because why show the viewers a scene and then have the main character explain that scene to everyone else for five minutes?

Other than that, Underwater is really good. The first 10 to 15 minutes is fun and intense, feeling like a combination of the show Stranger Things and the video game Subnautica, and those are really good things to be compared to.

As for acting, Stewart and Miller had some of the best performances with the best development. One character had a few great moments but was killed right at the start, one was unconscious for half the film, and one was terrified almost the whole time, so there wasn’t that much room for captivating performances. 

When it came to the way the film looked, it turned out to be pretty great, especially when it came to the designs of the underwater creatures, which got the job done of making the film scary at times. 

Overall, there were a lot of moments that made the film great, but then there were also a bunch that negated those good aspects and brought the film back down to average. If it hadn’t been for character and plot development that felt lazy at times, Underwater could have been an easy 90, but with everything considered, it’s going to get a 75 out of 100. 

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