Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


SANCTUM (2011). Director: Alister Grierson.

Very loosely inspired by a true incident which fortunately had no fatalities, Sanctum deals with a group of cavern explorers who are trapped inside a huge, twisting network of often underwater caves in New Guinea after a storm cuts off their exit. If there's any problem with the move it's that the leader of the group, Frank (Richard Roxburgh) is a total cliche, the expedient, practical hard-as-nails S.O.B. who shows little emotion until the script demands that he do so. During the movie Frank slowly bonds with his disgusted son, Josh (Rhys Wakefield), who doesn't share his interest in exploring. Ioan Gruffudd from Fantastic Four is another explorer who in a suspect "dramatic" development goes nuts after his girlfriend dies a horrible death in the caves [the women in this are much less dimensional than the main male characters]. For the first half of the movie you can't tell who anybody is because of the face masks, and don't especially care. The picture gets better and more suspenseful as it goes along, and is ultimately reasonably entertaining. But a much better script that avoided stereotypes and developed its characters better would have been welcome.  This picture got a little more attention than it might have because it was produced by James Cameron (Titanic).

Verdict: Nice scenery, even if most of this was filmed on a sound stage. **1/2.

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