William Eubank’s 2020 film ‘Underwater’ is a film of science fiction horror that blends H.P. Lovecraft’s cosmic horror elements with a modern environmental narrative. Starring Kristen Stewart, the movie offers a deep-sea adventure that explores the abyss of Lovecraftian mythology and contemporary ecological concerns.
A Tale of Horror and Mythology
‘Underwater‘ is set in the crushing depths of the ocean, crafting a story that, while not a direct adaptation of any single Lovecraft tale, skillfully borrows from his universe. The film pivots around a group of engineers, led by Stewart, working at the ocean’s bottom. Their explorations unwittingly awaken a terrifying entity. From that point on, the narrative turns into a thrilling survival tale against ancient, unfathomable horrors.
Is ‘Underwater’ Worth Watching?
‘Underwater’s central horror, revealed to be Lovecraft’s Cthulhu, adds a layer of cosmic dread. This representation of Cthulhu isn’t just a nod to Lovecraftian lore but also a metaphor for climate change that symbolizes Earth’s revenge against human exploitation.
Eubank’s direction brings comparisons to Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien,‘ particularly in creating a sense of claustrophobic terror. On the other hand, it also brings to mind the ‘Cloverfield’ franchise, where the fictional Japanese drilling company Tagruato awakens the Cloverfield monster after the Chuai incident.
The monster design reflects Lovecraft’s descriptions and fills the film with a sense of otherworldly dread. These creatures, hidden for much of the film, emerge with designs that echo real deep-sea creatures while also paying homage to Lovecraft.
The narrative weaves in the idea of humanity’s greed and the resulting ecological backlash mirrored in the awakening of Cthulhu. This approach is a creative departure from Lovecraft’s original themes, as he wasn’t touching upon these more modern concerns.
Still, ‘Underwater’ is pretty successful in making us fear the Eldritch horrors and think about the damage we’d done to the Earth at the same time. For fans of Lovecraftian horror and those seeking a film that blends mythical dread with real-world concerns, the film deserves a spot on your watch list.
Will There Be a Sequel to ‘Underwater’?
Despite its creative aspirations, ‘Underwater’ received mixed reviews. With a production budget of $50–80 million, it only managed a global box office return of $40 million. However, the film did receive attention for its effective use of visual effects and its thematic depth.
The making of ‘Underwater’ involved challenges, particularly for the cast, who endured wearing heavy, airtight suits for the underwater scenes. These efforts indeed contributed to the film’s authentic portrayal of deep-sea conditions and the terror that lies within.
‘Underwater’ concludes in a manner that opens potential avenues for a sequel. Eubank’s confirmation of Cthulhu as the movie’s antagonist raises the stakes for any follow-up story. A sequel could explore more of Lovecraft’s pantheon, potentially introducing new cosmic horrors and deepening the lore established in the film.