Sanctum Alister Grierson

Sanctum Alister Grierson
3D has become so overused and abused in recent months that I sometimes long for the days when it was nothing more than an amusing novelty. Alien Adventure (1999), for example, was a full-price IMAX film that ran 35 minutes and featured nothing more than a few aliens going on roller coasters ― in 3D!

Sanctum, a throwaway project from executive producer James Cameron, opens with some impressive shots of a helicopter flying over a vast, deep and detailed Australian forest before landing its characters in a survival thriller so run-of-the-mill it becomes clear that this whole thing was probably just meant as a glorified 3D demo reel for Cameron's production company.

In Sanctum, a team of bland, white underwater cave divers get trapped in one of the world's few unexplored caves during a storm. Some characters die gruesome deaths, some double-cross others and a dreamy young white guy with a Justin Bieber haircut may or may not reconcile with his gruff, unknowable father.

This is the kind of movie where characters spout aphorisms like, "Life's not a dress rehearsal ― you gotta seize the day" or dialogue exchanges like, "We have to do something!"/"There's nothing we can do!" when a crewmember becomes gravely injured. Once Sanctum makes its way over to Netflix in a few weeks, there will be no reason to watch it.

It must be said, though, that these people are very pretty, in a WASP-y sort of way. Everyone has nice skin and hair, and even the scruffy guy in the Ramones T-shirt has a perfectly manicured little stubble goatee. They look hot even when they're messed up with some strategically placed sweat and dirt. They have only the emotional crises you'd expect and their dialogue and personalities are unburdened by any unique eccentricities.

James Cameron is nothing if not a technological perfectionist, but it's a shame he doesn't realize that beauty often lies in imperfection. (Universal)