Sanctum (Alister Grierson) 2011

Sanctum is a disaster much in the same mold as an Irwin Allen production (or I guess Roland Emmerich for the new generation). With that mold comes big special effects and a large cast of paper thin characters. In this case you have a group of cave divers having to go deeper into an underwater channel to escape a typhoon which is flooding them from the top. Now the disaster movie genre has been for the most part played out but that doesn’t mean somebody couldn’t bring something new to the table. Unfortunately, not only doesn’t Sanctum bring anything new to the table, it doesn’t even get some of the basics right.

My biggest problem with this movie is with the characters. Now to anyone that knows disaster movies, you know that characters are usually the weakest part of any of those movies. That is because those movies are primarily about giving the audience carnage and great action. Characters and good dialog usually get the shaft in these movies. Now to counterbalance that, these movies usually have a star studded cast. These actors are usually just cashing in, but they do help the movie by making these two dimensional characters likable and imparting SOME personality to them. Who do we have in Sanctum? Nobody really. And not just nobodies, but wooden nobodies.

Another thing that hurts these characters is they are not very likable. Again, to use the Irwin Allen movies as an example, the characters are usually regular guys who are stuck in extraordinary circumstances. In Sanctum we have a group consisting of either selfish prats or rich A-holes going into a cave system which they know is most likely going to be flooded. That’s right, they knew of a storm coming which would spell trouble for their dive but they chose to go anyway. So not only are they assholes, but they are stupid assholes too. So for the majority of the movie we are following characters that we don’t like which makes this story a dull slog.

Another thing that slows the movie down is the fact we have to wait through half the movie before we even get to the disaster. That’s a long time to spend with these people. When we do get to the action it is just not all that impressive. All during the movie I couldn’t help think of how much of a better movie The Descent was. Not only did the direction give us clearly defined natural obstacles for the characters to move through, but things were also spiced up by having it be a monster movie too. Here we see the characters slog through one random tunnel after another.

Everything about this movie is just poorly done. This was a movie made to capitalize on Cameron’s 3D technology and it is clear to see that is the only thing this movie had to get it greenlit. I don’t see myself recommending this movie to anyone.




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