Underwater – Digital HD Review

Underwater

 

As a whole, Underwater takes inspiration from a variety of genres. It’s partially a race-against-the-clock thriller, a survival horror, and finally—a kaiju film. On paper, the concept is intriguing. However, the results are pretty generic since each genre is brought in and out of the film and never coherently fused.

Unfortunately, that’s not the only problem in the film. Underwater does feel a little long. Even though the film is only an hour thirty minutes and change, it feels longer than it is. As you can imagine, that’s kind of a red flag when this film is supposed to be an edge-of-your-seat thriller.

Fortunately, the film has some stylistic cinematography complete with slow motion and claustrophobic gonzo style shots. Also, what Underwater does well is playing on our inherent fear of the unknown. The monsters that are hiding in the deep dark waters of the ocean are what ultimately provide much of the fun and jump scares in the film. Not to mention, the plotline of escaping the ticking time bomb of Kepler station adds the thrills of the film too.

Now, this is where the film relies on the personal preference of the viewer. The film moves at a breakneck pace meaning that it doesn’t take long before the film puts our characters through the wringer. So if you’re the type of person that likes to know these characters then this film isn’t for you.

There are only a few characters that do get backstories, but they’re introduced into the film after the characters are gone. The only exception is, of course, Kristen Stewart’s character. After all, she IS the main character in this film. But if you’re the person that wants the action to start right away then Underwater is right up your alley.

Overall, Underwater is a decent horror thriller with several terrifying moments in the film. However, the film doesn’t quite live up to the concept that the filmmakers were trying to go for. It had a chance to mix so many genres that fit together so well, but ultimately, it drowns upon arrival. But if you’re the type of person that is looking for something hair-raising to watch during your quarantine then Underwater is for you.

Movie Rating: 3/5 atoms

Underwater - Vincent Cassel, Jessica Henwick, T.J. Miller, Kristen Stewart, and Mamoudou Athie

Video

Underwater hits Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-AVC with a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The picture, as a whole, has high, clean-looking contrast. The high contrast leads to some vibrant whites and deep blacks. Right off the bat, you can just see how dark the shadows are in the film. Of course, this is a good thing since it does add to the creepiness of the unknown. Luckily, you can still see the shadow details of all of the detailed high-tech production design. However, there is a good amount of compression where there is a lot of banding in the picture.

There isn’t a colorful film but the colors from the red emergency lights and blue tint of the ocean are nicely saturated. This is something that you can see with the red lights at Roebuck station. For a 1080p video, the picture is so incredibly clear. There’s slight softness around the edges, but the picture has a ton of crisp details. Overall, this is a fantastic looking picture.

Video Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Underwater - Kristen Stewart and Vincent Cassel

Audio

Underwater hits Blu-ray with a 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus track. The audio mix features several fun movements of sound across the soundstage—especially at the beginning of the film as the camera is moving down the pipe towards Kepler station. However, this is pretty much the extent of the playfulness of the mix. The audio heavily relies on sound placement. All station related sounds such as the collapsing station and alert announcements fill up the soundstage. Not to mention, the underwater ocean sounds completely envelops you from all over. Marco Beltrami and Brandon Roberts’ score sounds static but certain elements of the score are split between the front and back channels. Other mixes utilize individual channels when the score is playing. The dialogue is clear despite being slightly muffled due to underwater communications. Overall, this is a pretty immersive mix.

Audio Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Underwater - Jessica Henwick and Kristen Stewart

Special Features

Underwater‘s has the following special features available to watch:

  • Extended/Deleted Scenes (with commentary by William Eubank, Jared Purrington, and Phil Gawthorne)
    • Crew Suit Up (Extended)
    • Gantry Exit (Extended)
    • Baby Clinger (Extended)
    • Midway Station (Extended)
    • Ocean Floor Walk (Extended)
    • Rock Garden
    • Smith Departure (Extended)
  • Alternate Ending (with commentary by William Eubank, Jared Purrington, and Phil Gawthorne)
  • Real Bunny Montage (with commentary by William Eubank, Jared Purrington, and Phil Gawthorne)
  • Making Underwater
    • Design
    • Production
    • Creatures & Visual Effects
  • Audio Commentary by William Eubank, Jared Purrington, and Phil Gawthorne

All of the extended scenes are gives context to small little details that would’ve been nice to see on screen. These small little details wouldn’t add to the overall story but it does give us a little more insight into these characters. The alternate ending shows us the opposite of what happens in the theatrical version. It’s a big spoiler so we’ll just leave it at that if you decide to watch the film.

“Making Underwater” is a surprisingly in-depth series of featurettes which gives us so many looks into the vision and ideas behind the film. It’s intriguing the kind of technology, research, and development behind making an underwater film “without any water”. The audio commentary does feature a ton of information about the filmmaking process and a deeper dive into some of the unanswered questions in the film.

Now, if you listened to the audio commentary, you’d know that the stuffed bunny in the film was supposed to be a real bunny—as far as the actors were concerned. But the switch gave the filmmakers the footage needed to have the actors truly act as if the stuffed bunny in the film was the real thing. This montage lets us see what the real bunny was like on set.

Special Features Rating: 3.5/5 atoms


Overall, Underwater is a stylish and serviceable horror thriller for those who are looking for something new and thrilling to watch. The video, audio, and special features are all fantastic.

Overall Rating: 4/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1598 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.