Kristen Stewart battles a deep-sea monster in William Eubank’s new film
After Love (2011) and The Signal (2014), William Eubank returns behind the camera to direct Underwater. The young filmmaker from Massachusetts showed a huge passion for science fiction in the past and his third feature film is no exception.
Written by Brian Duffield and Adam Cozad, Underwater was released on January 10 in the U.S. and debuts in Italy on January 30, 2020. This time, Eubank added some hints of horror to the recipe and, as the title suggests, the film is set in the sea depth.
Underwater follows Norah Price, a mechanical engineer who works on the drill rig Kepler 822. When a large earthquake hits, the station suffers a massive breach from the pressure and Norah is forced to leave the section and save as many people as possible. After rescuing her colleague Rodrigo, the two find out there are only four other survivors: Paul, Liam, Emily and Captain Lucien. As they try to escape the station, they find out the real cause of the earthquake: the drill system has been attacked by a deep-sea monster.
Underwater pays homage to Ridley Scott’s Alien and its legacy, that’s why many critics described the film as “derivative”. However, if many catastrophic films start with quiet sequences to gradually reach a disaster scenery, this is not the case: after an initial scene in which Norah notices a spider while brushing her teeth, an explosion occurs and the film goes straight to action.
Underwater is visually appealing, with Eubank showing his mastery in building credible technological settings and fast-paced emergency scenes. The film has also a strong cast which includes Kristen Stewart (Norah), Vincent Cassel (Captain Lucien) and T.J. Miller (Paul). Unfortunately these talented actors can’t rely on a solid screenplay which lacks scientific accuracy, character development (it says too little about Norah and Captain Lucien’s personal stories) and sometimes resorts to ordinary irony to spice up some scenes.
Nevertheless, Underwater deserves our attention because it’s the story of a crisis event which evokes a problem we can no longer ignore: climate change. This deep-sea monster is the symbol of nature rising up against human exploitation, which make us all think about the choices we make every day.