Underwater (2020)

[7.5]

After an earthquake devastates their facilities at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, a handful of deep sea drillers decide their only chance of surviving is to walk along the ocean floor to another nearby facility miles away. But the journey becomes even more perilous when they discover mysterious creatures unleashed by their drilling efforts are preying on them.

Kristen Stewart (Twilight) heads up the ensemble cast, playing tough and sexy in her own natural way. Action suits her — it’s probably the best use of Stewart in a movie to date. The other cast members play the usual archetypes, with Vincent Cassel (Irreversible) donning the cap of the dutiful captain and T.J. Miller offering much-needed comic relief. Jessica Henwick plays the scared gal who’s forced to get tough. Everyone else might as well be wearing red Starfleet shirts.

The script can’t avoid Alien comparisons without coming up short, but hey — they can’t all be Alien. Or even The Abyss for that matter. For a riff, though, Underwater does all right for itself, with a script that hits the ground running with the scantest of opening acts. Character development is doled out judiciously on-the-fly, which is preferable to the usual twenty-minute ‘getting to know you’ sequence. The action and thrills are plentiful, the third act delivers a nice visceral climax, and perhaps most importantly, the creatures are pretty cool. If you’re in search of a new monster movie, Underwater will tide you over.