By Robin E. Simmons

NOW SHOWING:

UNDERWATER

Watching William Eubank’s nifty little underwater monster movie, I was reminded of the delicious terror of fearing the creature that I knew lived in the dark space under my bed when I was a kid.

Eubank’s film is built around the threat by mysterious creatures that terrorize a research crew stationed seven miles below the ocean’s surface. 

Kristen Stewert plays Norah, a mechanical engineer who is among the survivors of a desperate deep sea drilling crew that may have inadvertently activated a quake that has released monstrous creatures through a deep thermal vent.

This nicely crafted, claustrophobic horror shifts into high gear when the crew tries to get to a safe structure/pod that won’t implode under the extreme water pressure before their air runs out.  I could hardly breathe as they made their way through the sediment and muck that hid the deadly predators.

I was surprised as how much I enjoyed this flawed and prescient film that’s been in the can and on the shelf for about three years.

Question: Is the monster really Mother Earth’s vengeance against  those who exploit and extract her limited resources for profit?  Seems so.  We have been warned.

There are a number of scenes starting with the credits and including Stewart stripping to her underwear that are reminiscent of Ridley Scott’s “Alien.”  And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  A fun diversion. 

NEW OR THE HOME THEATER:

MISTER AMERICA

The political mockumentary stars comedian Tim Heidecker (Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!) as he runs for San Bernardino District Attorney in a spectacularly ill-fated campaign plagued by efforts at sabotage by his On Cinema co-star Greg Turkington.

Directed by Eric Notarnicola (“Nathan For You”), who also stars as Mister America’s freshman director Josh Lorton, the film follows Heidecker as he desperately runs for San Bernardino District Attorney while being accused in a mass murder trial in San Bernardino County.  At the helm of Heidecker’s campaign is Toni Newman (Terri Parks), the juror who is credited for saving Heidecker from his trial.  Newman works hard to help Heidecker win over the community while Heidecker’s controversial past begins to unravel; the campaign goes downhill leaving them to confront even more difficulties.

What began as a profile of an outsider candidate facing an uphill battle evolves into a deliciously dark study of toxic delusion as Tim’s motivations and controversial past chip away at his fast-waning credibility.

Taking on a popular incumbent has found Tim and his woefully inexperienced campaign manager outmatched.  Low on funds, experience and connections, Tim hits the streets in an attempt to connect with voters, but has difficulty winning over the community.  With word of his campaign spreading, former associates of Tim try to warn the public with stories of bad business deals, strained friendships and a failed court case in which he found himself accused of murder.  With days until the election and his campaign in free-fall, Tim has to confront he unexpected costs of pursuing his dream.

This crazy comedy is disarmingly relevant in our divisive time of looming elections and anything goes politicians.  Recommended.  DVD.  Magnolia.

robin@coachellavalleyweekly.com

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