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Underwater (2020)

Wasting no time, this is one of those rare films that goes from 0-100 immediately and never slows from the start all the way to the closing credits. This is something I remember being so blown away by on my initial viewing… a film like this doesn't need to be weighed with heavy exposition and that is something I appreciated. Being so far down at the bottom of the unchartered territory that is the Mariana Trench, a concept used multiple times inclaustrophobic under water films such as this. This is such an overplayed narrative but this interpretation is a truly petrifying on. This presentation (and a personal fear of drowning) provoked immeasurable anxiety theogony as a viewer and had me on the edge of my seat. The casting it perfect, everyone here brings their A game. Including Tj Miller, he is much more enjoyable in his role here than what I have seen him in previously. His comedy generally isn't something that lands with me and I can find him quite annoying to watch most of the time but I enjoyed his performance here. Kristen Stuart gives a phenomenal performance as our lead Norah. Giving off major Ellen Ripley vibes, the handling of her character was flawless in my opinion. She created a real, raw authentic experience of fear - (as opposed to the standard fearless final girl we usually get presented with in these films) and her performance had impact. I think Kirsten Stuart is a massively under appreciated actress, one who is final starting to break away from the stigma of the Twilight travesty that she started out her career in. Once things descend into chaos (which is almost immediately) the sense of claustrophobia on screen feels realistic, with the small tunneling and only torch light to see mear feet infront. Another great technique used to display this is the head cam found footage angle it takes at one point when out in the water. The scenes out in the water also feel remarkably restricted, which is ironic considering how vast the ocean floor is. I think due to the darkness and murky essence of the water it creates such a sense on confinement. These clever filming techniques along with incredibly Alien like set designs and costumes really do make this film a leagues above most other creature features. The creature design itself is something that is particularly impressive, growing in size each time we see a different incarnation apear on screen, leading ultimately to the Lovecraftian inspired Cthulhu. The darkness of the water cleverly disguises this monstrous CGI creature to the point where it is visable enough to see, but not visable enough to ruin the illusion - something I was grateful for. It has been done many times in the past where the big grand reveal of the monster can destroy the impact the rest of the film had, purely because the director was too ambitious, trying to show too much on screen. This is a film I have tried to review numerous times yet everytime I put it on I get so enthralled that I forget to take notes. This is not a perfect film but it really is a thoroughly entertaining one. Clearly taking notes from Ridley Scott's Alien, it does a great job of showing respect to its inspiration without ripping it off and rehashing old ideas.



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