Sanctum [Blu-Ray] Alister Grierson

Sanctum [Blu-Ray] Alister Grierson
If I were to take a stab at the point of Sanctum ― a movie about pretty white people yelling at each other in an unexplored underwater cave system for two hours ― it would have to be "caves are scary" or "responding emotionally to a tough situation will get you killed ironically." I suppose it's not much of a surprise that there's literally nothing going on in this sterile peril porn, given that it only exists because James Cameron thought it was neat that his diving technical collaborator on Ghosts of the Abyss, Andrew Wight, was trapped in a cave system back in 1988. The actual script and hired director were mere afterthoughts, scraping together familiar plot conventions and archetypal characters struggling with either inexperience or paternal resentment ― the old standbys ― in order to justify some decent cinematography in a narrative capacity. To expand, there's an effeminate, malnourished teenager (Rhys Wakefield) that has to learn about sacrifice from his stoic, wooden father (Richard Roxburgh), bridging that gap of implicit male righteousness. There is also an egocentric American (Ioan Gruffudd) along for the ride, with his cave virgin girlfriend (Alice Parkinson) and some kooky comic relief (Dan Wyllie) who, you know, makes goofy faces and hushed, glib remarks sort of like Uncle Joey on Full House. One of them is caught in a harness, another one gets the bends and one of them even goes bat-shit insane. Can you guess who dies which way? Perhaps superior cave films like The Descent have spoiled flat, mediocre nonsense like Sanctum by actually developing characters and effectively demonstrating tension, or maybe there are folks out there that want to see interchangeable ciphers yell, bleed and swim through small crevices while a soundtrack tries to compensate for the lack of tonal trajectory. I can't really say, but what I can say is that not a single moment of this milquetoast thriller comes off as sincere, rather every line of dialogue and moment of danger feels like it was written down by someone rushing to meet a deadline the night before it's due. The Blu-Ray includes a commentary track that expands upon some of the complications in filming, which is elaborated on in the three-segment documentary, wherein we learn of James Cameron's involvement and the many apathetic employees hired on in an artistic capacity. (Universal)