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Sanctum
DVD disk
06.21.2011 By: Jacob Riley
Sanctum order download
Director:
Alister Grierson

Actors:
Richard Roxburgh
Rhys Wakefield
Alice Parkinson

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
When a group of extreme cave divers only known escape route gets cut off by a tropical storm it is only a matter of time before their oxygen runs out turning the uncharted underwater cave system into their tomb.

Based on harrowing true events will the team be able to put their egos and drama aside long enough to find a way out or will the merciless force of nature consume them?
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
When SANCTUM hit theaters, to much pomp and praise from executive producer James Cameron, I am sure it was a visual spectacle. Filmed with the same 3D technology and riding on the successful coat-tails of AVATAR I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt that it was a unique and possibly exhilirating theater viewing experience with 3D adding real sense of claustrophobia and disorientation that most movies try to avoid. But this isn't in theaters and this DVD release doesn't get the 3D boost, if there really was one to begin with, so we have to look at how the flick stands on its own without the 3D aspect and its visually bland and in general is lacking.

The lack of the 3D gimmick aside SANCTUM is a passable action/survival flick, filled with the requisite cliches and stock characters such as the father and son duo that have a strained relationship, depicted by Richard Roxburgh and Rhys Wakefield, among several others. And while the dialog was obviously put on the back-burner some of the tensest moments come from the characters pulling together and trying to work to the admirable goal of not drowning with varied degrees of success and that primal motivation is successfully relayed by actors in a pretty raw way, if a little heavy-handed.

That sense of doom is layed on pretty thick for most of SANCTUM, it has a similar urgency of other survival flicks like THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE and if the characters stop moving for too long something bad is bound to happen. So they stay pretty mobile scouring the cave system looking for salvation with all kinds of challenges along the way that either pull them apart or make them stronger. But Mother Nature is definitely in a take no prisoners mode and there was actually a pretty surprising and particular gory sequence that you won't immediately forget.

We've essentially seen this movie before, it's the quintessential man vs. man vs. nature survival flick, but it's setting is eerie, unique and it is interesting to see the plot unfold and fairly entertaining trying to predict who might make it out alive and who's cave-diving ticket is about to be punched in the same way watching an old slasher movie is.
THE EXTRAS
The special features on this disc actually impressed me, one in particular. You of course get the usual fare; some deleted scenes, feature commentary with the director Alister Grierson, actor Rhys Wakefield and co-writer/producer Andrew Wight but the real bonus is the addition of SANCTUM: The Real Story. Yes, this is based on an extraordinary true event that co-writer Andrew Wight experienced first hand, and I think a more in-depth documentary about that life-or-death situation would have been much more enthralling then the fictional depiction seen in SANCTUM.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
SANCTUM will make you appreciate a couple of things. One: That you are sitting on your couch eating popcorn instead of spelunk-diving somewhere is Papau New Guinnea and two ... well actually I think there is is just the one.

SANCTUM, while it's lacking its huge 3D selling point here on DVD, is a pretty harmless survival flick that will have you guessing at who is next on Mother Nature's sh*t list and might just give you a new found respect for real cave-divers ... or maybe just make you shake your head wondering why in the hell people actually go out and do it.

Then you'll take another bite of popcorn and come across CLIFFHANGER on TV.
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