UNDERWATER (2020) Reviews and overview

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‘7 miles below the ocean surface something has awakened’

Underwater is a 2017 American action horror feature film about a crew of researchers who must scramble to safety after an earthquake devastates their subterranean laboratory. Due to studio politics it was denied a release until January 2020.

Directed by William Eubank (The Signal, 2014) from a screenplay written by Adam Cozad and Brian Duffield, based on a storyline by the latter. The movie stars Kristen Stewart (Lizzie; The Messengers), T.J. Miller (Ready Player One; Cloverfield), Vincent Cassel (The Monk; Sheitan), Jessica Henwick and John Gallagher Jr. (The Belko Experiment, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Hush).

Box office:

Despite a relentless online publicity campaign, Underwater has taken $7,515,627 at 2,791 theaters in the USA and $7,434,562 million overseas (21 countries so far) for a worldwide total of $14,950,189. Given that the budget was reportedly anything from $60 million to an eye-watering $80 million, Underwater is a big loser for Disney who took over the movie that they acquired 20th Century Fox.


” …Underwater is just another Alien clone, but by that metric, it’s not a bad one. It has a better cast than usual and enough energy to make it a fun, entertaining watch and far better than its first week of January release date suggests. If you go in with managed expectations, you’ll probably have fun with it.” Arrow in the Head

“Is this a wholly original film? Nope, not at all. It’s shallow on plot and characterization, too. But none of that matters in this scenario. Underwater knows precisely what type of movie it wants to be, and boy does it deliver […] It’s the perfect popcorn movie, full of splendor and chills.” Bloody Disgusting

“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. With a budget of around $80m, that’s really not good enough.” The Guardian

” …Underwater is essentially budget Alien, from its baby alien design to its narrow ship corridors and sense of total isolation. What it lacks — concrete characters and a compelling story — it attempts to make its audience forget by pelting them with action. Like so many recent reboots and sequels, it isn’t its own movie, so much as it’s a reminder of how spellbinding the original was.” Polygon

” …it turns out that while that same statement might be true under the sea, sometimes taking elements tales already told can be just as effective as crafting a new story from whole cloth. Underwater is a well-paced retelling of alien terror at the bottom of the sea, with Eubank and Stewart confidently steering the ship.” Screen Anarchy


Underwater was belatedly released theatrically in the USA by 20th Century Fox on January 10, 2020, rated PG-13.

Cast and characters:


Principal photography was shot in early 2017 before T.J. Miller’s bomb hoax arrest.

Technical details:

  • 95 minutes
  • Aspect ratio: 2.39: 1
  • Audio: Dolby Atmos


$60 to $80 million (estimated)

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