Movie reviews: Underwater, The Lighthouse
There are glimpses of a pretty good monster movie here.
Director William Eubank uses the titles for exposition and gets straight into the action.
It is the future, a deep-sea drilling operation suddenly goes kaboom and a handful of survivors (one of which is unfortunately T.J. Miller and his tired shtick) have to travel across the ocean bed to what they hope is safety.
But has the drilling awoken something? Take a guess.
Amid tension and jump scares, this is only mentally taxing for the claustrophobic.
Otherwise, it is Kristen Stewart leading a ragtag team through the dangerous murk as you play "Who'll die next?" and pray that it is Miller's character.
Eubank manages to keep the tension up, but it is a shame that it does not quite come together, even at just 95 minutes.
Some scenes of peril just end, making you wonder if it is deliberately hallucinatory or odd editing.
Made back in 2017, it is only now being pushed out as the last film under the 20th Century Fox banner.
Underwhelming title aside, Underwater is a decent B-movie that with a touch more drive could have really stood out from the pack.
- JONATHAN ROBERTS
THE LIGHTHOUSE (M18)
Exclusively showing at The Projector, this black-and-white psychological horror film stars Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson as two lighthouse keepers who lose their sanity when a storm strands them on a remote island where they are stationed.
Thomas Wake (Dafoe) is Ephraim Winslow's (Pattinson) hysterical and annoying work superior, who constantly emphasises that the latter is not good enough to manage the most important job - the light atop the lighthouse.
An ominous tension builds between them, ebbing and flowing, depending on their levels of sobriety.
At some point between watching Winslow develop a rivalry with a seagull and sightings of mermaids, the onscreen madness starts to feel contagious.
Though Dafoe mesmerises with his salty dog caricature, Pattinson outshines him in a surprisingly daring performance.
Winslow's dark history slowly comes to light, and his desperate desire to make something of himself with his new post will strike a chord with many.
Plodding narrative aside, this study of how a lack of intimacy and boredom can manifest in insanity is a must-watch for arthouse cinema lovers.
- JASMINE LIM