In continuance of my Spencer hype, today I watched another recent Kristen Stewart vehicle. I never really need an excuse to visit her filmography – something which many of my friends who only know her for the Twilight films find baffling – but having the reason allows me to visit some of her less critically acclaimed films.
Underwater (2020, Dir. William Eubank)
Underwater is another in a long line of films paying heavy homage – some might say ripping off – Ridley Scott’s masterpiece Alien (1979). It is a tried-and-true formula for a reason as the dimly lit corridors combined with terrifying monster design preys heavily on the psyche of viewers. Even as the archetype is copied into the ground, a strong execution of the Alien setup will deliver a satisfactory horror film and Underwater is just that.
Set miles below the surface, Underwater stars Kristen Stewart as a mechanical engineer working on a deep-sea drilling rig. When the drilling results in an earthquake critically damaging the rig and forcing a small group of survivors to make the trek via ocean floor to another facility with working rescue pods. Unfortunately, the earthquake brought something up from the depths which gets in their way.
Underwater is a fully adequate Alien clone with a great lead performance at its center. The film does very little special but still delivers an effective albeit conventional horror film. The monsters are horrific, and the film knows to keep them mostly hidden for greatest effect. Keeping Kristen Stewart front and center always helps the film succeed as she elevates the Ripley proxy into similarly captivating protagonist. While the film does not live up to the more experimental takes on the horror genre that A24 has been putting out in recent years, Underwater is still a solid watch for the horror connoisseur.