James Cameron produces a very average cave thriller, called Sanctum. This movie wasn’t written or directed by James Cameron. I feel the need to say that because lots of people thought so. Sometimes average movies need big names to present them so that they don’t become complete failures at the box office, Sanctum is no exception. Several things work really well in this movie, but they don’t hide some pretty bad acting and yet another predictable story. What happened to movies that kept you guessing? This movie could have been a lot better, but it also could have been a lot worse.
Sanctum is about a group of divers who are discovering an underwater cave, but wait, a storm is on its way and they have two days to get out of dodge! Hold on a second, in these types of movies the weather is never predictable because the storm arrives early! My god, the team has no idea that this giant storm is heading right for them and their communication with the people up above the cave is gone, like usual. So our team is faced with a difficult task, they must somehow find another way out of this unexplored cave! In earths inner Sanctum no one can hear you scream! Wait a second, I don’t think anyone can really hear people screaming when there under water, I mean if I am at one end of a pool and my friend is at another end and he screams under water, chances are I can’t hear him, but that’s not important right now. What is important is the rest of the storyline.
We got a father and son who don’t always see eye to eye, the boss and his girlfriend and a few other random people. Nothing goes as planned and people are just really clumsy. People slip and fall into rocks and into the water. You think these people were trained to experience harsh conditions, but apparently they let anyone go this far down into caves under water. Will our main characters survive in this race against time? Is there even another way out of the damn cave?
Let’s get a little more positive and talk about some of the things I enjoyed in Sanctum. First off we have the three dimensions. I thought that the 3D really worked in this movie. I always love underwater stuff in 3D because it really adds a feeling of depth. The caves go from very wide to very closed. The 3D helps adjust that very well. When they are squeezing through a narrow passage you really do feel claustrophobic, on the other hand, when they enter a huge open “room”, it really helps you feel like there’s so much to be explored in so little time. I didn’t experience this on an IMAX 3D screen, so I can’t comment on that, but the RealD 3D was pretty good. My only complaint as far as the 3D is concerned would be that it often felt really blurry, not sure if it’s because of the camera they used or if it was just the particular theater I was at. Another thing I liked was the fact that they seemed to just film the movie and go from there. They didn’t shoot for a PG13 rating by cutting out any violence and they didn’t go all out with an R and add tons of gore. There were moments of violence and they worked fine given the situation. I give the studio and the filmmakers props for that because this movie would have REALLY been bad if it was cut down to PG13.
The main reason this movie is so average is the story. We’ve seen it before and we’ve seen it done better. The ending is predictable and almost every death can be seen from a mile away. Even the 3D couldn’t help me get past the fact that this movie wasn’t bringing anything new to the table. Other then the main character seen in the poster, the acting was pretty bad as well. Lots of unnecessary decisions were made that really made this movie feel cheesy. For example, a character dies and one of the people didn’t have a wet suit, so she is offered to take the suit off of the dead person. She declines and they continue the journey, then another person decides to give up and float to his death. Now, why wouldn’t this stage 2 floater give up his wet suit when he knew that the other girl needed it? She was freezing and really needed a suit, but she didn’t want one off a dead corpse. So couldn’t you give her your perfectly fine suit before you float to your death? It’s that type of stuff that keeps happening over and over until the movie is finally done. Really makes you wonder why Cameron even decided to put his name out there. Sure, he’s going to be given a decent paycheck for letting them use his name, but the guy made over a billion dollars on Avatar and he banked a ton from Titanic. I doubt he needs money right now, and if he did, I’m sure any studio would beg for him to make a movie for them.
Overall, Sanctum is a movie that offers some good 3D and a predictable story with some pretty bad acting. It was great to take a break from the usual action and horror movies to see a man versus disaster type film without the Roland Emmerich budget. If you want to see this movie, I suggest you see it in 3D. I wouldn’t even bother on a 2D presentation since the main thing that worked in this movie was the 3D.
Sanctum – 7/10