Underwater Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Pros: moments that play with confined spaces and the fear of the unknown of the ocean; rapid development of events; interest in the ending Cons: there are a lot of cliches in the film; there is no full disclosure of all the characters in “Underwater” / Underwater

Genre fantasy, thriller
Directed by William Eubank
Starring Kristen Stewart (Nora), Vincent Cassel (Captain), TJ Miller (Paul), Jessica Henwick (Emily), John Gallagher Jr. (Liam), Mamoudou Athie (Rodrigo), Gunner Wright (Lee), etc.
Компании 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, Chernin Entertainment, TSG Entertainment
Year of release 2020
IMDb website

The film shows an underwater laboratory, the farthest point of which is located at a depth of 11 kilometers. The staff working there have difficulty distinguishing between day and night, being held hostage by a monotonous environment. The monotony of events is interrupted by strong tremors, which cause the destruction of the underwater structure. Mechanical engineer Nora manages to escape and find other team members who were lucky enough to survive. For them, the danger has not yet passed, and every minute could be the last. If the laboratory staff remains in place, they will soon be overwhelmed by rubble. If the team decides to don diving suits and walk along the ocean floor, they may encounter whatever created the destructive tremors.

Almost from the very beginning of the film, it is clear that Underwater follows clichés that have been taken from many sci-fi horror films. The film predictably evokes associations with Alien, although it tries to stick to its underwater line, gradually building the message that people should not encroach on unexplored territories.


If we abstract from production cliches and similarities with other films, “Under Water” can still arouse audience interest. In the film, events do not stand still, and the characters are in constant tension due to a feeling of uncertainty. Sunk to the bottom of the ocean, they are surrounded by darkness and something invisible, which may not only be the embodiment of their anxiety.

The film was created by the young director William Eubank. He began his film career as a cinematographer and production designer (he even worked on digital image processing in the film Superman Returns). A few years ago, Eubank released the fantastic indie thriller The Signal, which was memorable for its strange presentation of alien technology.

In the case of the film “Underwater,” William Eubank did not go into auteur cinema; he bet on a more proven option that would work better in a large box office. The director focused on claustrophobic spaces and also played well with the fear of the vastness of the ocean and the feeling of increasing panic when having to move forward.


The central driving force of the film is Kristen Stewart’s character, so the actress faces all sorts of underwater challenges. Her character has to overcome physical obstacles, which really adds to the action of the film, as well as keeping the team united. The scenes that work best are the ones in which a camera is placed inside Stewart’s space suit, demonstrating her fear and inability to see what’s next to her.

Vincent Cassel plays the captain, determined to save him. But he still gives way to Stewart’s heroine, simply because he is not the main central character. For the same reason, Cassel plays a rather flat role, not demonstrating even half of his acting talent.

As for the other members of the surviving team, they all play a clear role, following their characters, clear from the first scenes together. Actor John Gallagher’s character seems to exist to defuse the situation, and Jessica Henwick’s character exists to escalate it.


The film lasts only an hour and a half, which is sometimes not enough for science fiction, but for the film “Underwater” this is just enough. Due to the small amount of time, the events of the film are extremely intense; there is no inaction or long pauses.

Apparently, the creators decided to sacrifice a full-fledged backstory for the main character, giving preference to dynamic underwater action. In order to somehow compensate for the lack of characterization of the character, the writers, towards the end of the film, still gave her a scene with a lyrical note, however, at that moment it already seemed superfluous.

Despite all the shortcomings of the film, which boil down to copying techniques from science fiction, the film is watchable. At least while watching, there is interest in how this story will end.


the film “Under Water” contains everything that was already in other films. Despite this, the plot can still be of interest.

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