Flopped Kristen Stewart Horror Just Became a Huge Hit on Netflix

Flopped Kristen Stewart Horror Just Became a Huge Hit on Netflix
Image credit: Twentieth Century Fox

Fans will cherish even the most failed projects of their idols.


  • At the time of its release in 2020, the sci-fi horror Underwater proved to be a box office bomb.
  • Three years later, however, it landed as the sixth most-watched movie on Netflix.
  • Kristen Stewart fans marvel at her acting skills, which extend to horror films.

Horror movies are a pretty good litmus test for an actor's true talent. The genre's exponents, be they feature films or TV series, tend to get colder reviews from critics (unless it's John Carpenter or Robert Eggers), and this is a great chance to find out how much the stars' acting 'contributed' to that.

As such, quite unexpectedly, one of the most watched movies on Netflix in the last two weeks was a half-forgotten sci-fi horror starring Kristen Stewart. Released three years ago, it was one of the year's most high-profile flops, and one that many people quickly forgot about. But lo and behold, with its addition to Netflix, subscribers, including ardent fans of Stewart's talent, have been incredibly enthusiastic about the film.

What Is This Movie About

We're talking about the 2020 sci-fi horror Underwater. It was directed by William Eubank, then known for the 2014 sci-fi thriller The Signal (he is now preparing for the release of Land of Bad starring Liam and Luke Hemsworth and Russell Crowe). The screenwriters were Brian Duffield (The Babysitter, Love and Monsters, No One Will Save You) and Adam Cozad (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, The Legend of Tarzan).

In addition to Stewart, the film stars Vincent Cassel, Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher Jr, Mamoudou Athie and T.J. Miller, many of whom considered their roles in the film to be career breakthroughs.

The plot follows a drilling team conducting research at the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the year 2050. However, an explosion half destroys their facility, and the cause was not an accident or human error at all: the remaining crew members are haunted by horrific creatures that lurk in the darkest corners of the Pacific Ocean.

Underwater Was a Box Office Smash

Against a budget of $50-80 million, Underwater grossed only about $7 million in its first week. Cumulatively, the sci-fi horror earned only $40.9 million, of which only $17.3 million came from US theaters.

Unfortunately, critics received the release rather coldly: on Rotten Tomatoes the film has a score of 48%, and on IMDb the rating is only 5.9 out of 10. Many reviewers criticized the movie for the unoriginality of its plot, which relies on Alien clichés and tropes. However, the reviews of ordinary viewers were warmer, as many found Underwater to be a decent B-horror movie that will please all fans of the genre with its exhilarating suspense. And Kristen Stewart fans, of course!

Moreover, Underwater was released at the same time as the comedy Like a Boss and the absolute blockbuster 1917, which continued to run in theaters. Let's also not forget that this was the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, and movies released in 2020 were basically just losing money, hoping to make it up after being added to streaming services.

The Movie Made It to the Top of Netflix, Though

And the addition of Underwater to Netflix really worked to its advantage. Three years later, the film has landed at the top of the streaming service's global charts. For the week of December 11-17, Underwater was one of the most-watched English-language films, landing at number six on the chart with 5.8 million views for a total of 9.2 million viewing hours. In comparison, it was surpassed at the top by both a perennial subscriber favorite, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, as well as the Christmas Original releases, which became popular due to their seasonal relevance.

Notably, the Kristen Stewart movie's wave of popularity continued into the following week. According to What's New on Netflix, for the first half of the week of December 18-24, Underwater ranked fourth among the top 25 most-watched movies worldwide.

Source: Netflix, What's on Netflix.