The climax of Underwater features the appearance of a creature that looks all too familiar to readers of a certain author of horror fiction, and the movie’s director has now confirmed that it’s exactly what audiences thought it was.
Although Underwater was initially dismissed as “Alien in the sea,” it turned out to be an inventive and legitimately unsettling take on a disaster movie that proved the comparison to be a positive one. The intensity is kicked into high gear less than ten minutes into the story, and from there barely relents as the handful of survivors perilously navigate their way to safety.
Along the way they’re hounded by sub-aquatic monsters that are scary enough on their own, but at the climax it’s revealed that the heroes had merely been dealing with the spawn of an undersea leviathan. Its maw of flailing octopus-like tentacles and giant dragon wings invoke the image of H.P. Lovecraft’s famous monstrosity Cthulhu, which according to director William Eubank, is precisely what was intended.
“Yeah, spoiler art, this is a secret Lovecraft love story, where you get to see Cthulhu briefly at the end,” he said.
Along with The Shadow Over Innsmouth and At the Mountains of Madness, The Call of Cthulhu is one of the most famous of Lovecraft’s works, the titular chimeric behemoth lending its name to a mythos defined by beings of such immense and incomprehensible hideousness that merely observing them is to know madness, their unfathomable might highlighting in an instant the insignificance of humanity’s place “on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity.” Most interestingly, the short story describes Cthulhu as ‘dreaming’ before its destiny of rising from the oceans to claim the Earth, which is echoed in the movie’s opening narration from Kristen Stewart’s engineer Norah about life underwater being like living in a dream state.
All of Lovecraft’s works are now in the public domain, meaning that anyone is free to do whatsoever they like with his tales without danger of infringing upon any copyright, although previous film versions of them have generally been somewhat underwhelming. Underwater, by tacitly invoking the mythos rather than directly adapting it, generates as much shock and surprise for the viewers as it does for the characters, with both groups witnessing the creature without first waiting for the inevitable appearance and instantly creating a larger universe of cosmic horrors ready to be discovered by unsuspecting explorers.
Source: Bloody Disgusting