Horror fans are given fewer and fewer original adventures each year, as remakes and sequels regularly prove to be financially successful, with this month's Underwater coming as a relief to audiences if only for it being a seemingly original concept. The film sees a group of underwater drillers in the deepest part of the ocean accidentally uncovering mysterious creatures, forcing them to find safe passage back to the surface. Despite still largely being an original concept, the film's director, William Eubank, has opened up about the film's H.P. Lovecraft influences and has even confirmed that the final monster seen in the film is one of the author's creations.
WARNING: Spoilers below for Underwater
Throughout much of the film, audiences see somewhat humanoid creatures terrorizing our heroes, with the film's final act revealing a monstrous beast that is never fully illuminated. While some fans noted that the creature appeared similar to Lovecraft's Cthulhu, Eubank has confirmed that the creature was, in fact, the famous beast.
"He was written in the script as a big, whale-like creature," Eubank shared with Mr H Reviews on YouTube [H/T Bloody Disgusting]. "A massive behemoth – it was called 'The Behemoth.' And in designing the movie – we were done shooting, but we obviously never shot the behemoth cause we were gonna do him later – I just basically was like … we were early enough in the design that was able to shift more to a mystical being. So that's where we started going Lovecraftian. So I was like alright, '[We're] making Cthulhu here.'"
The creature debuted in the 1928 short story The Call of Cthulhu, where it was described as being hundreds of feet tall and with a head covered in tentacles. The story notes that some populations considered it to be a deity, while it inspired a feeling of anxiety and fear in humans on a subconscious level.
Given that the film took place at the bottom of the ocean, it played with the lack of visibility in that environment to create frightening sequences. Despite being denied a full-blown look at the creature, Eubank was able to tease the scale of the beast, with audiences likely noticing the tentacles on its face. The director also noted that eagle-eyed viewers will likely see the monster's signature wings.
"You see his wings too – you definitely see Cthulhu's wings," the filmmaker pointed out. "It's just something that happens to them and they can't explain it, and that's where the cosmic horror comes from."
Despite H.P. Lovecraft being considered one of the most seminal figures in horror literature, his ambitious storytelling doesn't often result in effective live-action adaptations, with Underwater only subtly honoring the author to make it one of the more compelling narratives inspired by his works.
Underwater is in theaters now.
Did you realize the monster at the end was Cthulhu? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things horror and Star Wars!