Violent Story of Survival
Starring: Richard Roxburgh, Ioan
Gruffudd, Rhys Wakefield,
Alice Parkinson, Dan Wyllie,
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 108 minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures/Comcast
Director: Alister Grierson
Executive Producer: None Listed
Producer: Ben Browning, James Cameron,
Ryan Kavanaugh, Michael Maher,
Peter Rawlinson, Andrew Wight
Writer: John Garvin, Andrew Wight
Address Comments To:Brian L. Roberts, Chairman/CEO/President, Comcast Corp.
Stephen Burke, President/CEO, NBC Universal
Ron Meyer, President/COO, Universal Studios
Adam Fogelson, Chairman, Universal Pictures
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608-1085
Phone: (818) 777-1000
Web Page: www.universalstudios.com
Frank and his team of cave divers are an experienced crew of explorers who use their expertise to go where no human has ever gone before – into some of the world’s largest cave systems. For weeks now, they have been deep into the Esa-ala caves in the South Pacific.
Along for this particular dive is Frank’s estranged son, Josh, an unwilling participant in the expedition. Also there is Carl, Frank’s financial backer, a rich man who craves adventure as a hobby, and Carl’s girlfriend, Victoria, an inexperienced young woman merely along for the ride. However, when a major hurricane hits the surface above, the team is forced to forego their exploration because the cave is filling with water. That is, until a cave-in traps Frank and his team inside.
Now, with time running out and water pouring in, the team is forced to go deeper into the unexplored cave system in order to, hopefully, find a way out. As each new chamber is discovered, deadly danger waits at every turn as the team’s will and sanity is pushed to the brink. As the deadly cave claims victims’ lives one-by-one, the remaining cave divers must battle to stay alive.
SANCTUM has some harrowing and suspenseful moments. It plays on the tried-and-true “man-versus-nature” story-telling device, and there are definitely some nail-biting scenes as well as edge-of-your-seat action. The cinematography is beautiful, and the adventure is top-notch. However, most of the characters are pretty flat, with the exception of Frank, played by Richard Roxburgh. Richard is perfectly cast as the hardened cave diver, and he deftly captures Frank’s battle-weary persona. That said, the dialogue is also very stale in places, and some of the other performances feel contrived.
The movie also contains a lot of violence, most of which is unnecessarily gruesome. While the threat of violence and implied violence could have told the story just as effectively, the filmmakers instead use graphic imagery and cringe-inducing techniques that often induce cringing rather than suspense. Sadly, along with the violence, the movie contains abundant foul language, 64 obscenities, 17 profanities and one crude gesture.
These objectionable elements, if toned down, could have perhaps lowered the rating from an “R” to a “PG-13” and made the experience more enjoyable for a larger demographic of moviegoers. The movie also contains a strong, mostly mixed pagan worldview with characters who never rely on God. Even though there is a mild theme of redemption between Frank and his estranged son, Josh, the movie’s unbiblical, amoral characters are, largely, unlikeable and, therefore, less sympathetic. All in all, SANCTUM is a nail-biting adventure; but sadly, it has a lot of objectionable content that will keep media-wise audiences from diving in to see it. Extreme caution is advised.
SANCTUM has some very harrowing, suspenseful moments and beautiful cinematography. However, most of the characters are a bit flat, and too unlikeable. The movie also contains a lot of violence, much of which is unnecessarily gruesome. There are also many obscenities and profanities. Finally, although there is a mild theme of redemption between Frank and his estranged son, the movie has a strong, mostly mixed pagan worldview with characters that never rely on God. MOVIEGUIDE® recommends extreme caution.