The Abyss With Underwater
If you’re a fan of monster movies then you probably know what you value in them. Great designs, fear of the unknown, sparse lore, incredible kills, badass protagonists, and memorable one-liners. In recent memory, it feels as though the creature feature has been falling off. Either to reflect on how to reinvent itself or perhaps lack of studio funding. What we do get oftentimes is something half baked and leaving audiences wishing they got more of the monster. Underwater is not this type of film.
For those that have seen William Eubank’s aquatic horror film Underwater, you may have made the mental comparison to Ridley Scott’s Alien. And while this may be low hanging fruit the comparison is apt. The film follows a group of survivors that are escaping a deep-sea mining facility that is mysteriously falling apart. During their outbreak, they encounter subaquatic creatures that make the Gill-man look like a guppy. While this premise could be seen as uninspired, one could argue that Blake Snyder’s “Monster in the House” formula is alive and well. Underwater proves how versatile a monster movie can truly be in any generation.
As mentioned prior, Alien holds up so well because its general aesthetic was divorced from any type of real architecture from the time. The film created its own world and because of that, its reach has persisted throughout the ages. The film’s narrative is a simple story of survivors encountering an alien lifeform and because it takes place in a nebulas adjacent future the film doesn’t feel dated. However, even Alien itself isn’t the original concept we praise it to be. If you’re a fan of monster movie history, you would know that Alien has taken the influence of films of the past such as 1965’s Planet of the Vampires and It! Terror Beyond Space. Both films share similar elements that many attribute to Alien. This, of course, isn’t a criticism but more of an acknowledgment of its timeless premise. Even comparing Underwater to Alien feels unjust to its innovation of something that feels all too familiar but somehow original in its own regard.
Underwater, intentionally or not, wears its influence on its sleeve yet remixes these classic tropes into a non-stop fright fest. The film manifests its own timeless feeling with its set dressings, monster designs, and fairly straightforward narrative. Director William Eubank struts with an air of confidence in every scene and you always feel like he’s in control. Underwater is part of what can be seen as a growing movement within genre films toward the revitalization of the creature feature. With upcoming releases such as A Quiet Place Part II, Antlers, and Vast of the Night its clear film-goers, horror fans, and monster lovers have an insatiable hunger that can’t be met fast enough.