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Fishers of men

(20th Century Fox)


Fishers of men

Mysterious sea creatures stalk human prey in the thriller Underwater

Sci-fi films about human-hunting creatures usually feature one of three different settings: outer space, New York City or some other metropolis suited to skyscraper scalers, or the murky oceans. Guess which one the new film Underwater takes place in.

A deep-sea mining station begins to collapse. At first suspecting an earthquake, the station’s crew soon learns it’s under attack from creatures never seen before. Where did they come from?

“We did this. … We’re not supposed to be here,” one crew member whimpers, reckoning the interspecies clash as the inevitable result of humans’ exploitation of the ocean. Happily, this is the lone bucket of environmental “told ya so” the film sloshes in viewers’ faces. Otherwise apolitical, Underwater is a subaqueous Aliens in which creatures chase the mining crew inside damaged structures and across the open seafloor, picking them off one by one. Will anybody survive?

The film (rated PG-13 for terror and language) is par for the coarse—the usual rough talk and shots of women in skimpy skivvies. The ensemble is also formulaic: the no-nonsense captain, the Sigourney Weaver tough-girl type (Kristen Stewart), the doomed jokester, and the fraidy-cat newbie. There’s little fresh in this saltwater nightmare. Still, props to the props: The twisted wreckage and seabed terrain are vividly realistic.

I’m convinced now: Creepy things lurk in the oceans—and outer space. But New York City? No way!