Kristen Stewart’s ‘Underwater’: What everyone is saying
Charlie’s Angels wasn’t the success that we and Kristen Stewart were hoping for, but the actress returns on Friday, Jan. 10 with the horror film, Underwater. What is Underwater? Well if you have a fear of dark water and what is lurking in the depths of our oceans, then it’s your worst nightmare.
Underwater follows a “crew of underwater researchers must scramble to safety from ravenous creatures after an earthquake devastates their submarine laboratory.” Kristen Stewart leads the cast as Norah Price. Also in the cast are Vincent Cassel (Black Swan), T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley), Jessica Henwick (Iron Fist), John Gallagher Jr. (Hush), Mamoudou Athie (The Circle), and Gunner Wright (Love).
Underwater is directed by William Eubank (The Signal) from a script by Brian Duffield (The Babysitter) and Adam Cozad (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit). Critical reviews for Underwater were released yesterday. They were. . .mixed. Let’s put it this way. Underwater is not Cats levels of bad.
What’s the general consensus for Underwater?
Rotten Tomatoes currently has Underwater at a 44% “freshness” rating. So, for the most part, critics aren’t feeling the horror movie.
Benjamin Lee of the Guardian is one critic who blasted Underwater writing, “What frustrates me most about Underwater is just how very little it brings to the table. It’s a solid, competently directed regurgitation of an oft-told tale that never manages to justify its own existence.”
Variety’s Owen Gleiberman concurs, “Underwater” is a stupefying entertainment in which every claustrophobic space and apocalyptic crash of water registers as a slick visual trigger, yet it’s all built on top of a dramatic void. It’s boredom in Sensurround.”
That doesn’t mean that every critic is hating on the film. Some positive reviews say that Underwater may not be doing anything new, but it’s still solid.
Entertainment Weekly’s Leah Greenblatt liked the film for what it was.
“Eubanks measures out his slow dread and jump scares smartly enough, even if it’s all tied to a template as old as time, or at least Ridley Scott.”
David Ehrlich of IndieWire also took Greenblatt’s approach to Underwater.
“The monsters are gnarly, the sets and effects are spectacular chum for the imagination, and the cast is able to elevate a damp programmer into a dizzy genre pleasure.”
How does Stewart do in Underwater?
Even if whatever movie she’s in doesn’t turn out to be very good in the long term, Stewart tends to bring her all to a role. Underwater is not the sort of film that post-Twilight Kristen Stewart does, but she still brought her all to the role. Even in a bad movie, Stewart showcases her acting chops.
Forbes critic Scott Mendelson praised Stewart’s performance, “It is anchored by a lively (and refreshingly chatty) Kristen Stewart star turn, offering the arthouse kid-turned Twilight star-turned indie queen another chance to show off some mainstream movie energy.”
Another glowing review for Stewart’s performance come from Film School Rejects’ Rob Hunter, who hopes Underwater will lead to more horror films for Stewart in the future.
“Stewart is the film’s heavy lifter, and she’s fantastic as the cynical but highly capable lead trapped in underwear and a sports bra for a good chunk of the film. She’s no Ripley-lite — this isn’t that kind of role — and she instead develops a character built on sincerity, integrity, and a knack for opening doors.”
EW’s Greenblatt does praise Stewart’s presence in Underwater but admits that there was only so much she could do.
“She’s [Stewart] too vivid a presence not to make more of the part than there is, though even she can’t rescue the anvil dialogue that weighs down the film’s final moments (even at a brisk 95 minutes, the last 20 tend to drag). Or quite manage to sell its well-meant message of environmental responsibility (if you drill it, you deserve what comes).”
Meagan Navarro of Bloody Disgusting writes that the entire cast does well, but Stewart is the one to watch.
“The cast does their part to make their characters feel as three-dimensional as possible amidst the chaos, though, and Stewart shines as the cool-headed heroine with survival smarts.”
Molly Freeman of ScreenRant said that Stewart is, well, fine. She’s just trapped in a movie that’s not very good.
“Stewart is a fine enough lead for what Underwater is going for, which is to put normal people in an incredibly abnormal situation, and Stewart plays a compelling everywoman.”
Should I check out Underwater?
If you’re a Kristen Stewart fan, then Underwater sounds like a film where she gets a chance to shine. Horror fans, however, may not want to shell out the money to pay to see the film in theatres. Underwater is a horror film that’s made to be seen on streaming services: tight-paced, tense, and relentless in its creeping dread.
It’s no Conjuring or Alien if that’s what you’re looking for. Go with your gut or whether or not you want to see Underwater in theatre.