Stuck between a rock and a hard place…

An Active3D Movie Review: Sanctum 3-D

Rating (out of 5 stars): ***

3-D “opens” out an image, allowing it to “breathe” or expand, both into the theatre space and way behind the screen. How curious, then, that in this Australian-American co-production, the 3-D is actually used (and effectively so) to heighten one’s sense of being confined in small spaces! The drama, suggested by ‘actual events’, tells of a team of spelunkers, or cave explorers, who travel deep down into a network of caves and tunnels at the Esa’ala site in Papua New Guinea.

That’s about it, really. A laboured and predictable father-son sub-plot runs through the film, and there are the usual group tensions and dynamics that you’d find amongst any isolated group fending off nature’s harsher realities. The use of the term “underwater” pops up frequently in the film’s promotional materials, but it isn’t purely a goggles-and-scuba affair. It does largely take place, however, in caves and natural rock passages, and if, like me, you’re even borderline claustrophobic, you may find the film to be quite a distressing experience. I actually briefly removed my 3-D specs a couple of times – though I do realise that this is a heretical confession to make! – purely in order to distance me from the nasty sensation of being trapped in such a threateningly restrictive environment.

If you’re an adventure fan and you’re prepared to cast aside your reservations about filial melodrama and poor dialogue, then you’re in for a thrilling ride.

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