Sanctum Reviews

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Super Reviewer
January 7, 2014
Mediocre action film, Sanctum is a film that had potential of being a great film; unfortunately it falls flat, and relies more on clichés than anything. The film is a well made, and there some exciting bits here and there, unfortunately, the material presented here is something we've seen many times before. Sanctum is the perfect example of a film that's style over substance, it looks great, but the plot is paper thin, and relies on recycled ideas from previous films in order to create an engaging film. Unfortunately the results here lack, and despite a few good moments, it doesn't do anything to really grab your attention. The end result leaves you wanting more, and considering it was produced by James Cameron, you'd expect a great film viewing experience. Unfortunately, the ideas here are overdone, and not that interesting. The high point of the film however, is that the film looks great, and it's well shot, but overall it's an empty vessel, a film that lacks effective execution to make a truly exciting thrill ride from start to finish. Sanctum is just a collection of clichés, and underwhelming performances. If you're going into this one expecting a great movie, you'll sadly be disappointed. Sanctum had potential, but the filmmakers squander that to rethread old formulaic ideas that just are not interesting. Overall, I was let down by the film, and I can't recommend it because it's just a pointless effort that lacks anything that will truly grab your attention. Watch something else, Sanctum just doesn't deliver and it is a film that should have used plenty of script rewrites before getting the go ahead. In terms of action, adventure films, this one is forgettable, and there are better ones out there.
Super Reviewer
January 22, 2011
A decent survival thriller. Watched it on DVD so don't know how good it is in 3D. The cave looks amazing and steals the show really, otherwise it ends up follow a already well trodden path for this type of film and others little new. I have to say as well why oh why make the English actor do an awful American accent, why not make his character English and save embarrassment!
Super Reviewer
½ August 7, 2011
Not a bad movie, but not great either. I bet it must have been pretty cool in 3D with all the suspended in water dive scenes. Without the 3D aspect, just another cave dive movie with a high body count.
Super Reviewer
½ January 28, 2012
I watched this film mainly because I liked the Descent and thought that this movie would be something like that.

The whole plot is shallow as hell. There could have been some sort of depth between the characters like Josh and Frank and maybe that guy and his girlfriend. The characters were all two dimensional. The writing was probably the worst part of the film. It makes the characters do stupid things. I've seen a lot of movies with stupid characters, and these characters are really, really dumb. The girl for example refused to wear a wetsuit when going diving because she's an idiot and doesn't know the definition of hypothermia. All the characters as a whole were dumb when they decided to continue their little expedition when they knew a huge storm was coming and could possibly flood the caves thereby killing everyone. Why are they so stupid? It's like one irrational decision after another. The characters can't think for themselves. *SPOILERS* Ohhh and what was up with everyone drowning each other? The one foreign guy breaks every bone in his body (or so they assume) so they drown the dude! The movie makes it seem like drowning is such a peaceful way to go. It's really not. I mean not that I would know, but I read somewhere that drowning is actually really painful. It doesn't seem peaceful at all, but the movie portrays it as a soothing and calm way to go. Then when the dad gets stabbed in the back, he makes his son drown him to end his suffering...whaaaaaaaat?! That seems so traumatic for a son to kill his own father. What the hell is this? If I was stabbed in the back, I'd much rather bleed to death than to be forcefully held under water by a family member. What is with all the mindless euthanasia in this film? Was there meaning behind it or was it just poor writing? I also liked how like an hour after the boy, Josh, kills his father, he makes it to the outside world and survives. I wonder if he hadn't killed his father, if Josh could've gotten help and gone back to save him. Hmmm....I guess we'll never know. Stupid people.

The other problem I had with the writing was the fact that everything in the beginning seemed so incredibly happy and fun. The entire atmosphere was just filled with joy. It was so fake and forced. When everything starts out so happy, the audience knows it can only get worse and it does. The movie is not at all predictable, but the way things happen just seem forced. It doesn't flow together as nicely as it could have. The movie just wasn't executed as well as it should've.

Some of the scenes in the movie showing the huge underwater caves were really, really fake. I was surprised that it looked so terrible. I could tell exactly where the green screen started and ended. It was pretty pathetic. Don't get me wrong, I mean some parts with the water falls and cave tunnels and crap were really pretty and all, but the inconsistency annoyed me. In one scene, you'd see a beautiful underwater cave feature and in the next you'd see a huge almost clay-animated bunch of rock formations in a cave that looked really, really fake. It was rather weird to be honest.

The acting part of the film was just okay. Considering all the actors were given such flat characters to portray on screen, they did a pretty good job. It's hard to play a character that literally has zero personality traits. The writing and dialogue were the main issue in this movie that made it fail. If the writer had added a little depth, a bit of an understory and given the actors the chance to play realistic people then I think this movie would've been a lot better.

I didn't absolutely hate it, but it was a little boring to watch. When all the characters are obnoxious as fuck and as dumb as dirt...I can't really enjoy the film. It was just okay.
Super Reviewer
February 4, 2011
A tense and suspensful film with exotic locations and great cinematography, but absolutely dreadful dialogue and mediocre acting. Come for the thrills only, as you will be facepalming when the characters speak.
Super Reviewer
½ September 10, 2011
Sanctum was a horrible film and a boring one as well. The plot of the film has nothing going for it other than a bunch of people start dying in caves, and I truly was bored out of my mind. The acting was also bad, these guys aren't memorable and you will forget their performance almost instantly. The special effects were not that good either, and I find it very rare where I hate the special effects in a film. The only thing this film had going for it was probably the sweet father and son moments in the film, but other than that I hated it.
Super Reviewer
½ July 30, 2011
Alister Grierson can't avoid predictability, but with the help of some nice visuals, Sanctum just gets by.With a story that mainly focuses in a tight and dark cave, the 105 minute run time isn't exactly brief. There is a slow start to get through and when things finally pick up, there really isn't much in the way of excitement or amusement. Yes, the film does have its suspenseful moments from time to time, but the fact that there aren't a whole lot of characters to like doesn't help.Sanctum may spend a lot of time underground, yet it does please visually; however they only go so far as to helping this film, and this isn't worth watching just because of the eye candy.There isn't much to say about the acting. Aside from Richard Roxburgh, who is great, everyone else does what they have to when they have to.By the time the mediocre conclusion comes around, Sanctum has already offered everything that it can. This is a tough film to recommend, but go ahead if need be.
Super Reviewer
July 20, 2011
After a slowish start I really got into this caving adventure which did bring out allot of goosebumps on me haha talk about tension and making you nervous whoa!!
From the moment the team get trapped below it makes you sweat as they try to work out how to get through the maze of tight tight underwater tunnels, its all very visually murky and suspenseful with plenty of tight spaces and dark caves lit merely from helmet lights or glowsticks. I think the cast were pretty good in this despite what I've read with Roxburgh as the tough father coming across especially well with his gritty performance as he pushes the team forward.

A Cameron film so you do get flashes of 'The Abyss' yet not as exciting plus Cambo's new pet 3D was in use but I saw this in regular 2D and it works fine so wether 3D makes any difference I'm not sure.

Its a little bit predictable and corny as each member is lost one by one and the ensuing fight between the last remaining three characters as Gruffudd's character seemingly loses it wasn't really needed, that made it silly when it could of remained sensible. That did come across as though it was added simply to raise the stakes and try and make the film more exciting when really the claustrophobia of their situation was plenty.

Not sure why its called 'Sanctum', possibly down to Roxburgh's character telling his son that being in these caves was his life, they were his church, maybe. Very realistic and well made and NOT an action film if that's what your thinking or looking for.
Super Reviewer
½ June 21, 2011
Boring, badly acted, and just not very good. This movie tries to be numerous different things and it fails at most, if not all of them. Parts are a father/son adventure, parts are claustrophobic horror, and some of it is just people acting stupid and dying in a gory death. "The Descent" is a real cave diving movie with thrills. The only thrill this movie gives is the thrill you'll get when you see the credits start to roll. The one big positive, is the movie is good to look at. The scenery is pretty spectacular, and the cave looks cool. Hell, the cave has more personality than most the actors. Get "Descent" or even "The Cave"(which kinda sucks too) instead.
Super Reviewer
June 13, 2011
Sanctum is a little rough around the edges, and suffers from a plight of horrible acting and predictability. The only decent performance was by Richard Roxburgh. I enjoy the man vs nature element, and this film has massive amounts of heart underneath its rough exterior. The story grows on you, but it doesn't pull you in at the beginning (which might hinder your overall opinion of the film). I wish the writers didn't force a lot of the characters to make blatantly stupid decisions, but other than that it's actually engaging and nice to look at.
Super Reviewer
May 3, 2011
The concept of Sanctum is an intriguing, albeit unoriginal one - cave divers get stuck in an unexplored cave system and have to find their way out before nature kills them. But it's so badly made that you wish the cave would just collapse and kill all of these cliched, underdeveloped, and completely unsympathetic characters.
Whoever wrote the script needs major lessons in writing dialogue. People here just talk for the sake of talking. No important information is being communicated to the viewer. To make matters worse, the dialogue does not set up how dangerous this cave system is supposed to be. They mention it's dangerous, but everyone seems to be on a camping trip, soaking up beers and telling jokes while allowing inexperienced divers in on the mission with them.
As an action film, the cave looks obviously like a set. The lighting is so poorly done that it makes the interior walls look like foam. Scenes are edited together with such laziness that there is no way to orient space between the actors and their environment, not to mention where the characters are in relation to each other. The pacing is slow and uneven.
Not to mention the terrible acting. and character arcs that are obvious and tired. Did I mention the clunky dialogue? From the opening five minutes, this movie sinks to the bottom of incompetent filmmaking and never rises an inch.
Super Reviewer
March 14, 2011
A predictable adventure film with subpar acting and cheap thrills.
Super Reviewer
February 19, 2011
Decent action-adventure, if very clichéd and predictable. Albeit never dull, the corny dialogue was something I just couldn't get past. More than a few times I found myself cringing in my seat. It's also a bit shameless how they use James Cameron's good name to promote the movie. He was just one of many producers behind it, yet they've made it appear as if he had a lot to do with the actual production (the typical giveaway of a Hollywood flick with low ambitions). As an entertaining way to kill some time though, it does an adequate job.
Super Reviewer
½ April 18, 2011
"The only way out is down"

An underwater cave diving team experiences a life-threatening crisis during an expedition to the unexplored and least accessible cave system in the world.

Sanctum pushes characters into intense and exciting life or death situation but quickly turns into an incoherent and claustrophobic downward spiral. This movie claims to be a James Cameron production but the cinema giant was only an executive producer so this film sees little of his creative touch and it shows. The film follows a group of cave divers trying to navigate the largest unexplored cave left in the world. When a tropical storm hits the cave begins to flood and their adventure begins early as the exploration crew is forced to go deeper into the cave to find a way out or drown.

This film is not for the claustrophobic. The entirety of the movie takes place in a dark and tight cave. The camera is up close to all of the action in the movie, which even makes the viewers feel enclosed. This makes the actions and locations of the characters hard to follow, one stretch of the cave starts to look just like the last and by the end the audience is just as relieved to get out of that cave as the one's trapped. Despite the extreme peril the characters come out one sided. Almost no character development occurs before the team finds themselves stranded. Aside from a brief introduction, which shows nothing other than insanity or possibly suicidal tendencies, no insight is given into the characters. Even with these flaws the actor's do sufficient work. No one will be going up for an Oscar but the talent in this film definitely makes the characters more relatable.

It seems a person's mental state could be a focal point in a movie where people are forced to think logically and calmly in order to survive. But only a solitary scene near the end of the movie plunges deep into a human's motivation to live and just how far a person can be mentally pushed under this stress. If this factor was focused on it would have added a great deal of credibility to the film.
Super Reviewer
½ February 26, 2011
I didn't see this film in 3D. I'd call it about's far from being up to par with James Cameron's other efforts (although it should be noted he didn't DIRECT this one), but it was fair enough. The characters were a bit too emotional for my taste, and there wasn't really any thrills or edge of the seat moments for me like there are in other cave-based films. No real action moments, just trying to find a way out of the cave, and even at that, "Sanctum" feels rushed. Even the exploration aspect isn't real deep - all of a sudden, the lights keep going out one by one until only one person is left and they find a way out. I did like the father/son message about how they found one another and got close at the end, even though they hadn't been there for one another their whole lives.
Super Reviewer
½ February 1, 2011
"Sanctum" is a solid 3D experience. Unlike many other films, the technology here works as advertised (Cameron probably had a lot to do with thIs). But the film itself is a mixed bag of thrills and contrivances, and due to it's wooden characters; ultimately forgettable.

* Ioan Gruffudd deserves ATLEAST a razzie nomination. He was terrible in just about every scene.
Super Reviewer
½ February 13, 2011
The narrative was sketchy and kept jump starting. Short periods of action followed by long periods of nothing. It would have been better if he hadn't have opened his eyes at the beginning. Fairly predictable and the boy annoyed me.
Super Reviewer
½ February 12, 2011
I thought this movie was good enough, it gives you chills to watch it at times but that's as adventurous as it will come. The story is quite simple and the storyline if you have seen enough movies you know who will survive in the end as the movie develops because someone has to survive in order for the 'true events' really be true. Greed, morality and will to survive are the key ingredients in this film. I simply like it even though it's not a excellent movie.

The 3-D action-thriller Sanctum follows a team of underwater cave divers on a treacherous expedition to the largest, most beautiful and least accessible cave system on Earth. When a tropical storm forces them deep into the caverns, they must fight raging water, deadly terrain and creeping panic as they search for an unknown escape route to the sea. Master diver Frank McGuire has explored the South Pacific's Esa-ala Caves for months. But when his exit is cut off in a flash flood, Frank's team-including 17-year-old son Josh and financier Carl Hurley are forced to radically alter plans. With dwindling supplies, the crew must navigate an underwater labyrinth to make it out. Soon, they are confronted with the unavoidable question: Can they survive, or will they be trapped forever?
Super Reviewer
January 30, 2011
Sanctum boasts great visuals, and it is a terrific 3D adventure film, but that is not saying much. If James Cameron was not attached to this film, it definitely would not have anything going for it, but overall, who even cares about that. This film was supposed to make you feel sympathy for the characters, and sometimes you do, but it is very difficult when the acting is bad and there really isn't a plot worth telling. The characters are completely undeveloped and the film starts by placing you already down deep into the caves, leaving the audience to figure out how it all began. Even the 3 leads (Richard Roxburgh, Rhys Wakefield, and Ioan Gruffudd) are very average. They deliver acceptable performances but each one of them have their share of audience crack-ups. Sanctum is a very fun ride to take, because it is a film that really took the depths of 3D and presented them here. However, the plot is terrible, the screenplay is Razzy worthy, and the situations are very predictable. It's a fun ride that I will take my time watching for the second time around, because that probably will not be any time soon. James Cameron really should have steered clear of this film. It's not that this movie is terrible, but I would only recommend it if you have seen everything else in theatres. Sanctum is extremely mediocre with great chills sprinkled throughout! My expectations were no met, and I am sad to say that I was a bit let down. What a miss fire!
Super Reviewer
February 11, 2011
Amateurish acting is not the cardinal problem with Sanctum, a waterlogged, sanctimonious excursion that prattles endlessly about exploring where "no human has been". Of course, the fodder of victims in this survival story are dolts anyway with one female refusing to wear a wet suit because it was on a cadaver. Most of the 3D is comprised of closeups of underwater helmets and rippling tides of flooding water; not very immersive if you ask me.
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