Going through the Netflix catalog, we noticed Sanctum was added recently. Reading the reviews on IMDB and metacritic, there were differences in opinion on the quality of the film. Outstanding visuals were the most frequent comments and recommendations to watch the movie in 3D. Critics pointed out the amateur acting and plodding storyline as negatives. We decided to give it a shot since it rated as a 50/50 movie.
We were pleasantly surprised. The movie had our attention throughout with a mix of drama, action, tragedy, suspense, and horror. With James Cameron at the helm as executive producer, the quality of the special effects and photography were eye-popping. Panoramic shots of the landscape, waterfalls, and caves were well done and caused us to become more immersed in the movie. The plot developed gradually and the writing had us invested in the characters’ narrative.
The first third of Sanctum was directed towards establishing the characters’ roles and the function of their mission, which was basically to explore underwater caves and new formations of stalagmites. Included in the party is an experienced cave explorer, his son, the financier and his girlfriend, and two technical personnel. Each actor played their role well and delivered lines with emotion. The conflict between father and son was played heavily during this part of the movie with both throwing insults at each other due to the son’s reluctance to follow in his father’s footsteps.
The second third of the movie involved much more action and the development of a cyclone in the area causing flooding in the caves. This brought tragedy with several members of the expedition losing their lives while trying to escape. The deadly conditions in the cave revealed true personalities for one of the characters and established a closer partnership between the father and son. Sanctum gave a glimpse of the dangers of cave diving and the need to always have backup equipment for emergencies such as oxygen, tools, and wetsuits. The lesson to remain calm under pressure was hinted throughout the movie.
The last half of Sanctum involved the final three characters and their struggle to escape. One of the characters becomes mentally unstable and added to the already deteriorating conditions inside the cave. Fortunately, one of them makes it to the surface and towards a beach area where he is saved.
Sanctum provided all the qualities you want to see in a movie — character development, great plot, plausible tragedy, and a solid conclusion. The deaths in the movie were gruesome but realistic and the visuals enveloped the audience to keep on viewing. Underrated but highly recommended movie!!