Sanctum

"Weak"

Sanctum Review


Inspired by a true story and executive produced by underwater-film fanatic James Cameron, this cave-diving thriller has a lot going for it, thanks to a strong cast and high production values. But the script fails to make anything of the premise.

Fit young Aussie Josh (Wakefield) travels to a remote cave in Papua New Guinea with American financier-adventurer Carl (Gruffudd) and his girlfriend (Parkinson). There they join a team, already deep underground, led by Josh's hard-man dad Frank (Roxburgh). Having just discovered a massive new water-filled chamber, everyone's shocked by the accidental death of a team member (Cratchley). And then a tropical storm descends, flooding their base camp and forcing the spelunkers deeper underground in search of another way out. But the already strained team finds it difficult to work together.

The story is packed with possibilities, especially as the film moves from one outrageous set piece to the next. Director Grierson and his plucky cast really go for it, creating a believably terrifying environment and situations that seem utterly impossible to survive. The physicality of the film is sometimes breathtaking, and the actors all get a chance to flex their muscles along with their acting chops.

The problem is that the dramatic scenes strain the film badly. The whole father-son dynamic might be well-played by Roxburgh and Wakefield, but it's so corny that we never engage with it for a second. And the tension between Frank and Carl isn't helped by Gruffudd's oddly flat American accent or thinly drawn character. Clearly, the screenwriters felt that the story needed a human villain to add some tension, but they fail to make this one believable simply because he's so relentlessly simplistic.

And then there's the problem of the structure, which progresses like a slasher movie as the evil cave kills team members one by one. This leaves us unable to sympathise with anything that's happening, since it's all being so clearly controlled by a writer. We just sit back and enjoy the gorgeous island scenery and amazing underground caverns, although the 3D is never used to its full effect. But by the time the emotional climax comes, we just don't believe it.



Sanctum

Facts and Figures

Genre: Action/Adventure

Run time: 108 mins

In Theaters: Friday 4th February 2011

Box Office USA: $23.1M

Box Office Worldwide: $108.9M

Budget: $30M

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Production compaines: Universal Pictures, Relativity Media, Wayfare Entertainment, Great Wight Productions/ Osford Films, Sanctum Australia, Start Motion Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 30%
Fresh: 49 Rotten: 113

IMDB: 5.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Alister Grierson

Producer: Ben Browning, , , Michael Maher,

Starring: as Carl Hurley, as Frank McGuire, as Victoria Elaine, as Josh McGuire, as Crazy George, as Judes, Christopher James Baker as J.D., Nicole Downs as Liz, Cramer Cain as Luko, Andrew Hansen as Dex, John Garvin as Jim Sergeant, Sean Dennehy as Chopper Pilot, Nea Diap as Kastom Shaman

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

With virtually the same blend of wit and idiocy as the 2001 original, this fashion-scene...

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love) reteams with Tilda Swinton for this fresh, tricky...

Deadpool Movie Review

Deadpool Movie Review

Both the filmmakers and the characters on-screen are so pleased with themselves that this might...

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

Advertisement
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.