Sanctum—Universal

Video: 4/5
Audio: 4/5
Extras: 3/5

Master diver Frank McGuire leads a team - including his 17-year-old son - to explore the largest, most beautiful and least accessible cave system on Earth. But when a tropical storm cuts off their only escape route, the team must work together to find their way through an uncharted and dangerous underwater labyrinth to make it out alive. With time running out, can they survive, or will they be trapped forever.

Sanctum was shot from the ground up as a 3D movie and Universal has released this one as a 3D Blu-ray but for this review they only sent the standard 2D presentation. The film was sourced from digital cameras and there are times where the shortcomings of the cameras used it obvious. Some fine detail smearing is evident here and there and darker scenes show some slight loss in contrast potential with washed out blacks and a flatter appearance. Some of the CGI is pretty lousy too. Otherwise this isn’t too bad visually. The underwater shots fair quite well and manage to capture some convincing depth even without the 3D technology. The soundtrack is engaging but slightly forced in sound design. You can tell they were going for an overly epic feel at times that didn’t quite come together. The cave sequences do have a nice sense of space though and the mood of the film is conveyed nicely within the mix.

Universal includes a digital copy of the film for your portable device plus a nice assortment of advanced Blu-ray features and supplements. You get some deleted scenes and a feature commentary along with a look at the story that inspired the film.

This got pretty mediocre reviews but I thought it was quite good. The story is definitely the strongest point even if the dialogue can be a bit wincing at times. The first 15 minutes or so didn’t do much for me but once things started going bad the film doesn’t let up and I enjoyed the ride. Recommended.

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