This episode we’re breaking down the little mermaid’s worst nightmare Underwater (2020).
Throughout this, we’ll be discussing the ins and outs of the movie as well as it’s ending and how it teases a sequel.
There will be heavy spoilers here so if you don’t want anything ruined then I highly suggest that you turn off now.
Underwater Plot Recap
Underwater follows the doomed crew of the Keppler 822 station. A team tasked by conglomerate Tian Industries to drill for resources in the Mariana Trench.
If you’ve seen Alien, Life or a handful of other sci-fi horror movies of the same ilk then from the off you know what to expect. Where Underwater tries to differ slightly from its inspirations is that it instead keeps the element of horror contained on our own planet, most namely the undiscovered areas of the ocean.
The opening of the movie has a collage of text that showcases some of Tian industries’ exploration into the unexplored drilling zones and how they had disastrous consequences. In the text, on-screen we can see mention of high-risk jobs and rumors of sightings in the vastness of the ocean. These were covered up by the corporation and this plays massively into the end of the movie and shows that Tian, though aware of what is going on down there, doesn’t show any signs of stopping what they’re doing.
This is when we are introduced to Norah Price, played by Kristen Stewart and the rest of her team.
A catastrophic breach hits the station due to the pressure of the depths of the ocean and this is pretty much the springboard for the film’s plot.
The crew must do whatever they can to escape the station and make it out of the murky depths of the darkness that surrounds them.
Unlike the movies that came before it, Underwater doesn’t really have all that much setup, it really throws you in at the deep end, pun intended, and because of this, I found the movie to be instantly engaging.
If you’re like me then being adrift in open water has always been far more terrifying than the thought of being adrift in space. There’s just something about being stuck in the ocean, being unable to see what’s lurking down there and even with the monsters that the crew come across, I think this film would have terrified me.
There really is a sense of claustrophobia from the outset and even watching Norah brush her teeth in the movie’s introduction has a tense feeling. There’s a moment where the pressure of the ocean alone kills a character by cracking his helmet wide open and it hammers home that in this perilous environment, death can come at any second.
After the disastrous tear that starts the movie with a splash Norah and another survivor Rodrigo are forced to trap some of the crew underwater in order to save themselves and it instantly grounds the movie with the notion that this is every man or woman for themselves.
This is made even more clear when Norah, Rodrigo and Paul, played by TJ Miller crawl to the escape pod bay only to find that all of them have been deployed.
This notion of fighting for your own survival no matter the cost comes into play massively towards the end of the movie and is pretty much the defining arc that the characters go on with them realizing that sometimes you have to make a sacrifice for the greater good in order so that others can survive.
We can see that Price has difficulty in putting herself before others in the introduction but she still does it. Eventually, this comes full circle with her life once more being on the line but she goes the opposite way.
Price, Rodrigo, and Paul slowly reunite with the other survivors, including their Captain Lucien, until they reach the control base which is where they realize that if they are going to make it out of this, they’re going to have to push themselves to the extremes.
To get out of the area and back to safety they must put on pressurized suits and walk one mile across the ocean floor to an abandoned neighboring station named Roebuck 641.
This station is the one we see in the introduction that ended up having a similar disaster to the Keppler.
Underwater: The Monsters Explained
Now, this wouldn’t be much of a monster movie without any monsters, and these come in the form of several deep-sea creatures that clearly had a hand in the destruction of the station.
They discover a hatchling in a corpse that they come across that adds a sort of facehugger element to the film and as they make their way to the ocean floor they are slowly hunted by the creatures.
It’s as scary as you’d expect and the film does a brilliant job of making you care for the characters even though they don’t have a crazy amount of screen time and character development.
I think Underwater’s strongest element is it’s pacing, it’s fast, constantly moving and it doesn’t give you much time to catch your breath.
I’d stop doing water puns but WATER you gonna do about it…eh…having that? Nah I will stop I promise.
The movie has an incredible synth soundtrack and it really makes Underwater a fun time. I’m surprised this got a January release because it’s way better than the month that most movies go to to die.
As for the monsters themselves, they come in all shapes and sizes. From the tiny hatchlings to the humanoid size creatures that litter the ocean floor all the way up to the gigantic beasts that we discover have been attacking the stations.
These seem to be what most of the smaller creatures gravitate around and they have an almost parasitic and symbiotic relationship with the larger versions of the species.
From what we see of them in the film, the smaller ones have nests and Price at one point comes across a group of these that are sleeping. They are able to stealthily sneak up on people due to their environments and are adept at swimming.
They are attracted to light and thus navigating their way through the terrain is difficult.
There’s lip service paid to the fact that they live in a hydrothermal pocket which is able to provide them with heat in order to survive the coldness of the deep.
Either way they’re scary as hell. This ain’t no merman…mer…man…cough cough..
Imagine coming face to face with the monsters of the Trench but you don’t have the powers of Aquaman, that’s what the movie feels like and it’s awesome because of it.
Walk On Water
The crew that makes it through the descent (and there isn’t that many) begin the walk across the ocean floor. Lurking behind them is another creature that slowly stalks them and drags one of the group away. Lucien chases after them and is dragged himself. Price goes after him and is dragged too but he sacrifices himself in order for her to escape the mounting pressure on their suits.
I think this kinda shows her that sometimes you must make the tough call and Lucien was a man who put others above his own safety. He remarks about going down with the ship early in the movie and you really get the feeling that he has a sense of duty. Price says he should ignore this because he has a family but still he makes the tough call.
This could be because he was actually aware of the creatures, much in the same way that Tian was. Upon arriving at another station they discover that he worked there and after seeing the movie for a second time there are clues that he had prior knowledge of what was in the deep. This is based on his reactions and so one but yeah the clues are there.
He clearly survived that attack and thus probably feels like he should have died in that one. Who knows what he went through but either way he’s been through this situation before.
It indicates that his sacrifice may have been because he feels responsible for what he lead the crew into and that there is some element of guilt there.
Underwater 2020 Ending
The three survivors that make the walk, Price, Haversham and Smith get to the Roebuck but they discover a giant creature wrapped around the station.
This is clearly the one that destroyed the station in the attack mentioned in the introduction and it looks like the creatures have infested the outside of it.
They rush to the three escape pods waiting for them but unfortunately, only two are functional. Price, puts the others before herself, convincing them to take the life rafts up to the surface.
During their ascension, a gigantic creature emerges from the outer shell of The Roebuck that has countless creatures hanging from it. They swim towards the two escape pods and the giant begins to ravage the station.
Price makes the ultimate sacrifice and raises the core levels of the station causing it to explode and kill the surrounding monsters.
It’s a turn that I wasn’t expecting, mainly because I’ve gotten so used to the Final Girl trope in Horror movies but this was a really nice change-up.
Underwater Ending Explained
The two getaway but we learn that Tian industries once more covered up the disaster.
They silence Haversham and Smith by denying them access to interviews. They destroy the camera footage and try and censor everything about the outbreak
The movie ends with Tian announcing that they are planning to expand their drilling efforts which is clearly hinting at a sequel.
With crews disappearing one by one I can see suspicion mounting up around the company and the further they dive into the deep the more likely they are to discover bigger and more terrifying creatures.
I’m glad that they didn’t go the route of ‘the corporation wants to capture the creatures to sell them’ but clearly they have little care over the life of their staff. We don’t really know the time setting of the film but if they are having to dive this deep then we can assume that natural resources are in little supply and thus Tian want to go further into the depths no matter the cost of human life.
Even though we know that they are diving too deep, it seems like they don’t care and will do whatever they can to make sure that they have a supply chain.
If there is to be a sequel I can see it being set further in the depths with us discovering more about the ins and outs of the monsters as well as their homes.
Underwater Movie Review
I’m definitely interested in seeing a sequel and this movie massively surprised me.
I wasn’t expecting much but I was pleasantly surprised by the tone, atmosphere and sound scape of the film.
Underwater doesn’t re-invent the wheel but it does a lot with what it has and the premise and what they do with it is interesting enough to warrant a rewatch.
If you haven’t seen Underwater then I definitely recommend that you give it a chance and that’s why it gets an…
Now obviously I’d love to hear your thoughts on Underwater and if you wanna see a sequel or not. Comment below and let me know!