Updated: Jan 15, 2020
Underwater first went into production in the Spring of 2017 and finished the principal photography in May 2017. The movie was originally aiming for an earlier release date until Disney purchased 20th Century Fox, which forced the movie to be pushed back to January 2020.
The budget for Underwater is estimated around $80,000,000.
A crew of aquatic researchers work to get to safety after an earthquake devastates their subterranean laboratory, but the crew has more than the ocean seabed to fear.
When I watched the trailers and saw the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes from both critics and audiences the impression that I got was it was going to be mixed. Decent, but nothing really to get excited over. Also, it was releasing in January and movies in January tend to be sub-par at best. However, you do get that one movie once in a blue moon that you watch and find it to be very enjoyable. Underwater had my attention the whole time. The movie has me wanting to see this crew make it out alive, but you know in the back of your head who the next victims are going to be. There is so much tension that when they're walking in the pitch black darkness of the Marianna Trench it had me looking every inch of the screen to see where these monsters may pop up. And if it isn't the monster that kills one of them, then the pressure from the deepest part of the trench will. They are in constant peril trying to escape a collapsing station built in one of the most hazardous environments inhabited by monsters.
Even though Kristen Stewart plays Norah, who is the main character of the movie, there is no set main character as it does not focus on just one character. The movie concentrates on all of the characters. There is a good balance of the amount of screen time for all of the characters, however, most of the characters in the movie are not very memorable despite most of the cast doing a pretty good job acting. I can't really say much about Mamoudou Athie since he is only in the movie for ten minutes before he is killed off. T.J. Miller's character, Paul, is basically the same character that T.J. Miller always plays. He is a wise crack that tells jokes, but he isn't annoying nor his jokes were awkward. On the other hand, his jokes were only slight chuckles at best. While I liked Jessica Henwick's performance, her character, Emily, was really out of place. She was just there and did nothing the whole movie. She saves Kristen Stewart at one point in the movie and that's about it. She doesn't do anything active or contribute anything to the team. If any of the characters were memorable, I think Vincent Cassel's character, who is just called Captain, was probably the most memorable actor in the movie. He is the captain of the Kepler Station (which gets destroyed at the beginning of the movie) and even though he could have left his crew behind he instead stayed to make sure his crew make it out alive. He knows he still has a duty as a captain to make sure that everyone is taken care of. He knows that his plan is risky, but if there is a chance for his crew to survive he takes that opportunity to do it. Also, the relationship between the captain and Norah had me thinking that Norah looks up to this guy like a father figure and you can just tell how much respect the captain gets when interacting with his crew members.
You have heard me compare this movie many times to Cloverfield and I must say if you have been wishing for Paramount to make a true sequel, then Underwater is the movie you may want to look into. It is as close as it gets to a Cloverfield 2. The reason why I make this comparison instead of Alien like others is because I am thinking back to the viral marketing for Cloverfield back in 2007–2008. In the viral marketing, there is this drilling station called the Chuai Station and it was a station that was just opened at the time near New York City and it was destroyed by the Cloverfield monster. The company that owned the drilling station called Tagruato knew that this monster was down there and they kept it confidential. In Underwater, there were these newspaper clippings at the opening and closing credits about Tian Industries opening a drilling rig in the Mariana Trench, then sightings of strange creatures started going around and reports of workers going missing, and this company knew these creatures were down there and kept quiet. Also, Underwater is about how the drilling site in the Mariana Trench collapsed and you see all of these human sized monsters attacking and at the climax reveals the source of the station's collapse which is an even bigger monster. So while I was watching Underwater, one of the things I was thinking was if they replaced the mermaids with the parasites and the big monster with the Cloverfield monster then you would have a solid sequel to Cloverfield. Underwater hits where 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Cloverfield Paradox missed.
If you have been itching for a true Cloverfield sequel, Underwater is as close as you will ever get to seeing one. It is a solid monster movie that is tense, suspenseful, and tells a pretty good story about survival. Even though the characters are not very memorable, the cast did a good job playing the role they were given. While it does not invent anything new, the movie promised what it advertised in the trailers as a suspenseful monster movie and I left the theater having enjoyed Underwater overall. If you want a good monster flick to start off 2020, Underwater will not disappoint.