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Review Underwater (2020): A remake of Leviathian?

genre: action, adventure, horror, science fiction

Ever since I had heard about Underwater I was intrigued. It really did look like a film that is right up my alley and was so glad to finally watch it. And for the most part Underwater certainly has it's moments especially the first half hour. 

With a film like this you will have to suspend disbelief right from the start otherwise you will have a hard time enjoying it. Naturally it's not possible for people to live underwater. Even if the station is the most high tech and advanced there is. Sure there are articles claiming that it is technically possible there are quite a few caveats. I won't go into these now but it's safe to say that any of the events in this film are very unlikely and pure fantasy. That being said Underwater doesn't waste time to thrust itself into a tense adventure. But after thirty minutes or so the film loses steam. Now there are some redeeming elements to this film. Only they don't go as deep enough I was hoping. 

In hindsight Underwater looks and feels like a remake of the far superior Leviathan (1989), That film already went into Lovecraft territory a little and Underwater seemed like it was going deeper.  (Leviathan also is a masterful blend of Alien and The Abyss.) Unfortunately it doesn't. Sure it has one blatant element and some smaller references to Lovecraftian mythology but that is about it. To me that is very disappointing and a missed opportunity. The film could have made itself stand out by embracing the mythology and the cosmic horror more. Instead of dread you get served action scenes that are hard to make out. There were many moments I looked away for a bit (few seconds) and then completely missed what had happened. Honestly I didn't really care that much since Underwater is predictable as hell. That is another thing I don't really understand. To have Kristen Stewart parade as an Ellen Ripley type of hero preferably in her underwear as much as possible (which does nothing for me since she is far too skinny for my taste) was already a bold move. Then why not go further and at least tried to make a memorabele film. BTW Kristen Stewart does a good job as the hero. I am not a fan but people critisizing her performance in this one have no clue what they are talking about.

Overall Underwater is a decent watch and with it's normal running time of 95 minutes never feels like a chore. Even if I would have preferred more depth and substance. 

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