Underwater Parent Guide
Astoundingly unoriginal but still strangely watchable, this film is suited for horror fans who don't want to think too hard.
Parent Movie Review
In the depths of Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench, Tian Industries has built a massive mining complex to extract resources from the earth. Unfortunately for the crew, things have started to go wrong, beginning with a massive earthquake that destroys nearly 70% of the station. Worse yet, the damage threatens to send the nuclear reactor which powers the facility into a meltdown. A mechanical engineer, Norah Price (Kristen Stewart), must team up with the other survivors, including Captain Lucien (Vincent Cassel) and Emily Haversham (Jessica Henwick), a biologist, in order to escape the crippled complex. But out in the deep dark water, something is moving…
Underwater is astoundingly unoriginal, but oddly watchable nonetheless. The script is lazy, burdened with dialogue that doesn’t sound like anything real people would say. It’s painful to listen to, with the surprising exception of T.J. Miller’s obvious ad libs. (This is a surprise because I usually find his style incredibly annoying). Maybe it works this time because the rest of the dialogue is so bland that Miller reigns in his usual weirdness to blend in a little better. Not that he reigns it in too far - his character, Paul, still spends the movie carrying and talking to a small stuffed rabbit.
As far as parental concerns go, Underwater is a pretty standard PG-13 action/horror. It stands out for a lack of awkward sexual innuendo or dialogue but overcompensates in the language and violence categories. With three extreme profanities and around eighteen scatological curses, the movie is getting away with a lot at the PG-13 level. The violence is more of what you’d expect, but it still isn’t wholesome family fun to watch a man’s pressure suit break and see what happens when the human body is suddenly exposed to 8 tons of pressure per square inch. I guess you could frame it as a science lesson? Maybe not.
Underwater is so stereotypical it almost feels like it belongs in another movie. You know how when a character watches a movie, it always feels like a joke about genre films? This is that. If an original thought went into the movie, I clean missed it. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. Movies like this set your brain firmly in the off position, rendering any complex thinking impossible for the following half hour at minimum. As such, it’s a perfect choice for teenagers looking for a quick scare. It’s not like they were doing any complex thinking on the way in, either. And adult horror fans who are tired after a long week and want a simple scare with no profound philosophical questions can put their brains on park and drift along with the story.Directed by William Eubank. Starring Kristen Stewart, TJ Miller, and Jessica Henwick. Running time: 95 minutes. Theatrical release January 10, 2020. Updated January 11, 2020
Watch the trailer for Underwater
Rating & Content Info
Why is Underwater rated PG-13? Underwater is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sci-fi action and terror, and brief strong language.
Violence: Several dead bodies are shown, some with graphic injuries. Characters are knocked around and slightly injured by explosions and earthquakes. An individual explosively decompresses. A person is almost instantly reduced to a pool of red goo. Two people are killed in explosions. Multiple scenes of extreme peril.
Sexual Content: Characters are occasionally shown in underwear as they change into and out of armored pressure suits. No sexual remarks are made.
Profanity: There are 18 uses of scatological profanity and (at least) three uses of extreme profanity. There are perhaps a dozen uses of mild profanity and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None.
Page last updated January 11, 2020
Underwater Parents' Guide
When the going gets rough and you feel helpless, Norah says you should stop feeling and start doing. Do you think this is good advice?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Michael Crichton’s novel Sphere sees a team of researchers sent to investigate a strange object resting on the ocean floor in the southern Pacific.
Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a classic science fiction novel set in the oceans.
Related home video titles:
The most obvious choice would be James Cameron’s 1989 film The Abyss, starring Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, from which this movie borrows many plot elements.
Younger kids who want to see the ocean depths without losing sleep over it will enjoy 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, starring James Mason and Kirk Douglas.
Older audiences looking for similar scares would probably enjoy Alien, which was clearly a major inspiration for this film. Underwater shares some of the sense of danger and isolation found in John Carpenter’s The Thing.
A more action-focused version of the “terrifying monster from the unfathomable depths” concept is The Meg, starring Jason Statham and Li Bingbing.