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Rated 3 stars
by 269 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Cast and Script Sink 'Sanctum'
by Diana Saenger

Sanctum has James Cameron’s name all over it, so many people think he’s more involved than just as one of the executive producers. Perhaps that’s why expectations about the film are never met. Consequently, upon leaving the theatre I heard nothing but groans and negative comments.

The story deals with a group of people led by diver Frank McGuire (Richard Roxburgh), a master diver anxious to explore South Pacific’s Esa’ala Caves. Most of Frank’s team gets along pretty well, but that changes when his 17-year-old son Josh (Rhys Wakefield) shows up in a helicopter with some rich friends who plan to join the dive.

Once everyone gets down inside the caves, a tornado causes massive flooding and the cavers are trapped. They try to get out but fail and must look for alternate routes. I suddenly began to feel like I was watching The Poseidon Adventure without a boat. One impossible and frightening scene after another unfolds, sometimes with someone dying a gruesome death. One, maybe two would be understandable, but this movie could be called “last man standing.” The deaths are  gruesome, and each one makes the film more depressing.

Except for Roxburgh, all of the actors lack believability. The script by John Garvin and Andrew Wight (based somewhat on one of his true experiences) is so cliché that smart moviegoers could write each scene before it happens. The film uses Cameron’s 3D process from Avatar, except in this case the 3D effects are minimal and unnecessary.

The only thing I found mildly pleasing in Sanctum is director of photography Jules O’Loughlin’s great job creating a fierce-looking cave dwelling which also appears quite awesome at times. Other than that, I felt the film was dull, depressing and often hard to watch.

(Released by Universal Pictures and rated “R” for language, some violence and disturbing images.)


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