Submerged review: stuck in a limo with you and a shock lobster | Film | The Guardian

Weak and leaky horror about awful people trying to save themselves from a sinking motor, lifted only by a giant crustacean

Weak and leaky horror about awful people trying to save themselves from a sinking motor, lifted only by a giant crustacean

Legendary schlock producer Samuel Z Arkoff confessed that he frequently came up with ideas for posters first, movies second. It is in that context that I can’t get too angry at Submerged, a dense, low-budget genre picture with very few thrills. Its poster image – a hand pressed against the window of a car that’s plunging underwater, with the tagline “You can’t scream and hold your breath at the same time” – is truly a work of brilliance. I can only blame myself for thinking the movie could measure up.

In my head, I’d conjured some gonzo real-time indie spirit experiment, such as Rodrigo Cortés’s Buried, the Ryan Reynolds film set entirely within a coffin. (It works!) If not that, at least a cheeseball flick such as Airport ’77, one of the great, dumb disaster movies, in which a jet airliner sinks into the Bermuda Triangle. (Passengers on this plane include Jack Lemmon, James Stewart, Christopher Lee, Joseph Cotten and Olivia de Havilland; yeah, you need to see this one if you haven’t already.) Sadly, neither is what’s docking here. While we open with dazed individuals in a crashed limousine as it begins to take on water, Submerged’s frequent flashbacks eventually reveal a tiresome crime plot rife with soporific acting and unremarkable dialogue.

Matt (Jonathan Bennett) is a driver/bodyguard/aide-de-camp for Hank (Tim Daley), a businessman currently suffering bad PR as he downsizes a local factory. Matt’s a good guy, though, as he has always got a watchful eye for Hank’s daughter Jessie (Talulah Riley), whose life has been threatened since the company has been in the spotlight. Matt is also shown taking care of his troubled younger brother Dylan (Cody Christian), who eventually succumbs to a perhaps intentional overdose.

This is all the past, though. Inside the limo, Matt is in the driver’s seat, but pinned by his leg. Jessie is next to him, but she’s been drugged. In the back, separated by a soundproof partition, is Jessie’s boyfriend, plus two other dudes and one gal. Their main job is to scream “Oh my God!” and bang on the walls and then to turn on one another. (Your job in the audience is to hope they all drown, and quick.) We soon put together that they’re currently in the drink because of a kidnapping attempt that went wrong, but Matt’s escape wasn’t perfect, and they barrelled over a guard rail.

Submerged suffers from a misunderstanding that anyone would want to watch this movie seriously. There’s a brief glimmer where it embraces its B nature, when an escape from the limo via the trunk is thwarted by villains in scuba attire. Other than that gag, the action is all by the numbers, and the third act’s revelations are preposterous, yet somehow still uninspired. It takes a great deal of effort to craft a script so uninteresting.

There are, to be fair, a good deal of striking images. Director Steven C Miller and cinematographer Joseph White craft some elegant frames, particularly closeups of terrified faces. It’s undeniable that the best moments of this film are when the characters aren’t talking. There are also some clever transitions, including one gag with a giant lobster that totally “got” me. That said, the best transition was the one to the closing credits.

Submerged is on release in the US and on VOD now

Nguyễn Hoàng Diễm My
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Nguyễn Hoàng Diễm My

My là một người yêu thích sự sang trọng, và quý phái. Thiều Hoa cũng là một địa chỉ mà My thường hay đến mua đồ. Chất liệu Thiều Hoa sử dụng My cực thích và rất an toàn cho da khi da My thuộc loại nhạy cảm.

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