Monday 31 January 2011

Sanctum review

Sanctum (15, 109 mins)
Director: Alister Grierson
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
A cave diving expedition in Papua New Guinea goes badly wrong when a sudden storm floods the system and the only way out for the small group remaining, chief among them a mutually antagonistic Australian father and son, is to venture downwards to try and reach the ocean. If you ignore the wooden characters, exposition-heavy script and ropey acting, Sanctum just about passes muster even if it is frequently tame and plodding. With James Cameron on board as executive producer, his name seems to be its main selling point, alongside the sometimes effective, often pointless use of 3D. Caves may be the ideal environment to fully exploit the technology, and the depth of field and immersion here means Sanctum comes off better than most. And yet it never gets close to setting the pulse racing, though it’s also far from a disaster. If it was doing its job properly, you should feel like you haven’t drawn breath for two hours, but any thrills to be had are moderate at best and ultimately it’s nothing we haven’t seen a hundred times before.