Review by Jack Foley
THE characters in Sanctum are drowning in more ways than one in Alister Grierson’s thriller given that they’re awash with so many cliches.
Produced by James Cameron and boasting the latest in 3D technology, the film nevertheless struggles to maintain much interest because so little attention has been given to providing a set of characters we really care about.
Even the plot has a been there, seen it done better before quality to it as it follows the plight of a cave diving team after they’ve become trapped underground by a tropical storm.
Among them are grizzled veteran Frank McGuire (Richard Roxburgh), his resentful teenage son Josh (Rhys Wakefield), billionaire financier Carl (Ioan Gruffud) and his reckless girlfriend Victoria (Alice Parkinson).
But while Griersome does manage to muster the odd moment of claustrophobic tension, the majority of his film fails to deliver any tangible thrills or chills.
The dialogue is as cliched as the characters and the performances are ropey at best, with only Roxburgh emerging with any credit.
You could write a list to complete the reasons why the film doesn’t work, beginning with the fact that Neil Marshall’s The Descent did it far better (with and without creatures) and concluding with the disappointment that even some of the sets look like sets.
In between you have characters behaving irresponsibly and dying stupidly, repeat scenarios, laughable third act confrontations and emotionally contrived rites of passage elements.
Incredibly, Grierson even manages to get the obligatory woman in her underwear shot out of a sequence involving pneumonia – a feat that arguably marks Sanctum‘s most creative moment as well as highlighting the desperate lengths to which it will go to generate some excitement.
Running time: 108mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: June 13, 2011
- Buy it on DVD (Amazon)
- Buy it on Blu-ray (Amazon)
- Andrew Wight interview
- Sanctum Photo Gallery