Director: Gore Verbinski Starring: Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, Ivo Nadi, Celia Imrie, Mia Goth. USA/Germany. 2h 26m.
Gore Verbinski’s hellish story of entrapment in a world filled with mysteries and a strange folklore is full of disturbing quirks, but not enough to really step the film into the realms of greatness but instead it just comes off as a bit weird. The plot follows a young executive, Lockhart (DeHaan) who, after a misdemeanor at his firm, is sent to retrieve the company’s CEO, who is currently staying in a rehabilitation centre in the Swiss Alps. During this trip there’s hints of a sinister chapter from his childhood that still influences his life, but once he enters the secluded grounds of the wellness centre a dark fairytale atmosphere begins to take over.
Written by Ira Levin who gave us such classics like Rosemary’s Baby(1968), Stepford Wives (1975) and, The Boys from Brazil (1978), but the biggest influence on the story is Thomas Mann’s 1924 novel, The Magic Mountain (German: Der Zauberberg) . A book which does feature in the movie, those with a keen eye may spot it, is already considered to be one of the most influential works of twentieth-century and centres on a man unravelling a complex story from the backstories of key characters that he meets in a similar spar in the Alps. The war that’s faced in the novel is a World War, whereas Lockhart’s war is initially within him.
Director: Mark Elijah Rosenberg Starring: Mark Strong, Sanaa Latham, Luke Wilson, Charles Baker .UK. 1h 30m
A deeply philosophical sci fi drama that borders the aesthetics of lo fi and challenges a lot of immortal questions about mankind exploring anything about the world around them as well as the wells of unknowns from within.
There’s a ton of highly sophisticated looking tech and a groundbreaking invention at the centre of this one way trip into the void. But Director Mark Rosenberg is more focused on creating an intelligent and driven character and isn’t happy until he’s peeled back all of his layers to get the most intimate look into a fictional character that I’ve seen in a long time. Apart from his pet project, which literally milks water from rocks, the rest of the tech isn’t the shiny fan dangled aspect but Captain William Stanaforth (Strong) does know this machinery all too well inside and out but it doesn’t mean everything is going to run smoothly despite his expertise.
Director: William Eubank Starring: Kristen Stewrd, Vincent Cassel, Mamoduou Athie, TJ Miller, John Gallagher Jr, Jessica Henwick. USA/Canada. 1h 35m
It was only a matter of time where the connection between the isolation of outer space was going to be matched by that of a deep dark space closer to the earth was going to be matched up and Cthulhu chucked in for good measure. The last milestone year for underwater horrors was 1989 which saw the release of three masterworks DeepStar Six (1989), Leviathan (1989), and The Abyss (1989) which saw fearless deep sea adventurers encountering different unknown vicious beasts and sometimes aliens while often digging deep into the earth’s crust. So why not knock it up a notch now that we have access to a lot more.. technology and green screens.
William Eubank is obsessed with a flighty spacey sci fi adventures filled with twists and turns from the epic loneliness of Love (2011) and his attempt to make a viable sci fi mystery in The Signal (2014) which looked stunning but employed too much slow mo action , he’s certainly built up an amiable arsenal of techniques and the ability to build gorgeous sets and to create a realistic other world atmosphere, nevertheless he keeps most of this new epic Underwater fairly grounded under the final act where all hell quite literally breaks lose.