If you have a fear of cramped spaces, being underwater or over-acting, 'Sanctum' is not the film to see. Those who live with the urge to re-watch 'Cliffhanger', 'The Deep' or the original 'The Poseidon Adventure' any time they're on telly will however get a few kicks out of this James Cameron-produced adventure-thriller.
Set in the South Pacific, 'Sanctum' brings us into the subterranean world of "the most respected explorer of our time", Frank McGuire (Roxburgh), and his motley crew of trusted thrill-seekers, a smarmy billionaire benefactor (Gruffudd) and Frank's tearaway teenage son Josh (former 'Home and Away' star Wakefield), who also happens to be as good at climbing as he is at giving guff. They're all trying to conquer the Esa'ala Caves ("The Mother of All Caves"), but Frank's obsession with success means he can't see that his team is burned out, or find the time to ease tensions with Josh. And when a monsoon hits earlier than expected, tempers and fears start rising as fast as the water level.
The latest film to require punters to wear goofy glasses, the value added by having 'Sanctum' in 3D is up for debate; yes, it looks impressive but the action sequences would've worked just as well without it. Instead, more of the budget should have been spent on curing the characters of their compulsion to shout at each other and getting the script doctor to amputate a particularly nasty twist. To give him his due, though, director Grierson also cranks up enough tension to keeps things speedy, and the body count is impressive. Even those with an iron stomach could reveal their inner wuss during one scene involving a climbing rope and someone's head. It doesn't end well.
Makes you wonder how good this movie could've been if Cameron was in the director's chair.