User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 83 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 83
  2. Negative: 24 out of 83

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  1. Feb 6, 2011
    Sanctum, Rectum, apparently the same thing. For those of you that thought Titanic was the best movie ever, you will love this film. A film that makes me want to puke as it is so baddly done, and claims to have had a script, which I don't think it did.
  2. Mar 29, 2011
    lack of depth in concept. lifeless characters. poorly narrated. outdated camera movements and screenplay makes sanctum a hell of a movie. only saving grace is slick visuals in the movie.
  3. Feb 10, 2011
    For what it's worth, I was on the edge of my seat for the entirety of the second half of this film. Nothing is cheap about it, but there's just not a ton of substance. It's like a bunch of other movies of this sort that I've seen, but it's interesting. And looks terrific. I'd recommend it on a free popcorn night (like tonight was).
  4. Feb 13, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Mother Nature is the monster. No aliens here, just a lot of rain, water made malicious by the forces of the cosmos, and then, gravity. Besides, what would aliens be doing in a cave system anyway? It's a question that Neal Marshall's "The Descent" never answers. Think about it. These extra-terrestrials travel all those miles, galaxies upon galaxies, to conquer...caves. Why caves? Now here comes "Sanctum". In the case of the diver team spelunking around the Papua New Guinea subterranean passageways of Esa Ala, a griping teenaged boy's cry of "Why caves?" to his explorer father gets a full explanation, but alas, Josh(Rhys Wakefield) must have a short memory, since he forgets the musings put forth by the expedition team's bank roller, prior to the hierarchical killings. (Naturally, the indigenous crew member dies first.) Carl(Ioan Grufudd) tries to justify his father's unconventional life, which took him away from home in long stretches. He says, "Your old man is like Christopher Columbus, or Neal Armstrong," later adding that "there's nowhere else on the planet left to explore." Apparently, these great men, these iconoclasts of history, make no impression on Josh. (Does he even know who these men are?") With their lives hanging in the balance, the historically-challenged boy unloads all of his daddy issues on Frank(Richard Roxburgh) at the most inopportune time, whining like an overgrown baby about his father's chronic absenteeism, when his main concern should involve staving off imminent death from the infiltrating water that threatens to turn the caverns into watery graves. Such is the fallacy of the filmic world, where time compression creates a juxtaposition encompassing personal matters with the visceral physicalities of the moment, the latter which should have everybody's full attention, but doesn't, in which the secondary goal of reconciliation is poised to overtake the primary goal of survival. Fighting off mental and physical exhaustion, Frank, in response to his son's bad parenting diatribe, gets his metaphors mixed up, by comparing the cave to a church, and the cave system to religion, when in fact, caverns such as the Esa Ala, and others of its ilk, which took the veteran explorer away from his wife and child over the years, seems more like a mistress, and his penetration of her stone walls, an affair. Frank's church is like something out of the Flannery O'Connor novel "Wise Blood", because it's a "Church Without Christ". "No god down here. We're just bits of dust passing through," says Frank(an Aussie Hazel Moates) to his only parishioner, "The Son Who Grew Up Without A Father", in between the deaths of their fellow divers, George(due to decompression sickness) and Victoria(on account of her stupidity), whom neither father nor son properly mourns like real people would. As a leader of men, Frank sucks. Despite his reputation of being a great man, Frank puts his whole crew in mortal danger right from the start, when he wrongly predicts that the machines will warn its monitoring subordinates of any oncoming flooding. The shouting obscures his incompetence. Frank's in charge, not his underlings, and yet he allows Judes(Allison Cratchley) to dive without a backup tank. It's Frank's job to neutralize her persistence with some persistence of his own. Following the drowning, Josh criticizes him, and instead of taking it like a man, he implicates his son in the accident, citing how the boy didn't procure those extra tanks like he asked. Even worse, he allows Victoria(Alice Parkinson) to swim without a wet suit. The novice diver(and Carl's girlfriend) insists that she'd rather be "cold and alive than warm and dead," when she refuses to wear Judes' gear. During their post-mortem(following Victoria's where she sacrifices herself for the greater good), Josh call his father a "heartless bastard", but after a couple of minutes, they're hugging; they patch things up, right after Frank earnestly compares his passion to a religion, and for some asinine reason, this seems to satisfy Josh. Forgiveness should be doled out incrementally, but "Sanctum" treats their reconciliation, as it does everything else, like a plot point, as it marches forward into the abyss of formulaic filmmaking. Expand
  5. Feb 25, 2011
    The swarm of negative reviews should warn potential viewers. Without the 3d effects we're left with something akin to the old Saturday morning kids adventure flicks. It is really hard to imagine that this came from the same creative mind as Avatar. It's so cheesy, such wooden acting and stilted dialogue. Best unintentionally funny line - "I'm not wearing the wet suit of a dead person!" So there. Maybe if you could actually care about the characters it could have generated some emotional involvement. Only saving grace, some native folks got paid for working on this abysmal production. Expand
  6. Feb 6, 2011
    This movie is nothing but visuals. We live in an age where visuals are simply supposed to look that good anyway, its like a standard. It was a real upset of a movie in comparison to what James Cameron has done in the past. (Whether you liked his movies or not, it makes no difference) Although I do say that lame stories are kind of a specialty of him, just like Sanctum was. 2/5
  7. Jul 16, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. From the very beginning you ask yourself: what is at stake here ? Exploring a cave that really nobody gives a rat's ass about, where is the pressure ? If it takes them ten years to explore it, still nobody cares. The death of the first diver is announced twenty minutes before it is actually happening. Since the rest of the script is not much better, this small flaw fits right in. By the way, a storm or cyclone does not surprise anyone for the last I would say 25 years. Satellites can track these things pretty accurately - how believable is it that a well-equipped expedition does not seem to have access to local weather data, and is actually surprised by a major cyclone ? All the drama never seems real, because it isn't: it is caused by the utter stupidity of these so-called professionals. All the yelling and screaming makes things seem even more out of control, but do not add an ounce to the quality of this flick. The name James Cameron appears in the opening title credits...hard to believe ! Expand
  8. Feb 5, 2011
    what a Terrible Movie. Waste of 11.00 dollars. James Cameron should be a shame of putting his good name on this awful movie. I voted it a 0. movie was east to predict the out come
  9. Orn
    Feb 8, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Aside from assisted suicide, mercy killing, unwarranted profanity (including what must be considered excessive use of the F-word), heresy, atheism, blasphemy,a weak script, disconnected acting, and technical errors, Sanctum has little to recommend it to discerning moviegoers. George, all bloodied and suffering from an earlier bout with the bends, looks like he has minutes to live. But he must be killed "mercifully,' which act we are forced to watch as he dies most unwillingly. The tough, sometimes driven father bids his son, who earlier in the film would have gladly murdered the old man, now does so reluctantly. An experience diver panics uncharacteristically. And we are privileged to watch all these shenanigans in glorious underwater 3D. It doesn't help. Expand
  10. Feb 10, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Although " Sanctum " ( 3-D / IMAX ) has lovely scenes of back light divers, and huge blue-light caves, the film's dialogue collapses in the very first sentences, with the audience laughing at all the wrong parts ;
    A -la " Catwoman ."

    Added to this sloppiness are a non-stop series of gruesome close up, drawn out, right-in-your-face deaths. The sheer volume and intensity of these moves this film from a simple "Divers Underwater" movie into the " Rebreather Snuff film " category. In addition, "Sanctum" was filmed it on the cheap. True, the cave set is good, but, I believe the base camp shots within the cave should have used stronger lighting, using a smaller "f-Stop" resulting in everything being in sharp focus for better 3-D effect.

    Finally, if your shooting in 3-D, you use it, redlining its capacities. As an example, In the film, there is a distant shot of someone base jumping off a cliff. In 3-D, Anything like this should be seen from "his" viewpoint; standing on the cliff edge, turning away from his smiling friends, then slowllly tilting down, giving a little jump and falling off into space.

    Alas, they messed this up too.

    Despite the dialogue, I was rooting for this film; maybe they could turn it around but, as the body count mounted I realized they'd just lost it. Leaving the theater, I pondered " why did they made the film" ? True, it's " Based On A Real Event" but so what? Who wants to see this & have it rubbed in their face; whatever possessed them ? A divers " Angela's Ashes?" - Then Why IMAX? Why 3-D ?

    Seeing " The Kings Speech next, that gets great reviews . .
  11. May 7, 2011
    Such a shame Indonesia didn't get chance to watch in 3D, remember James Cameron is the magnet **** yeah Jive!). Surprisingly touching on fatherhood drama and satisfying on visual thrills, but did I mention about ****ed-up script and acting?
  12. Feb 24, 2011
    Terrible. Horrible. Crappy. good- for nothing. waste of time. I didn't realize the height of my folly when i went for this god forsaken film . This is less than pathetic in fact
  13. Mar 1, 2011
    What can I say about this movie... It is Intersting, but let's face it we were all expecting much better from James Cameron. It has some scary parts and some good ones but I really didn't liked it. It was't a movie that will stay forever in my mind. (Except for the main actor wow good abs).
  14. Apr 24, 2011
    Someone please tell me why people give other people money to make **** movies like this. I was unbelievably disappointed in this movie, and my expectations were already low. The acting is dreadful, the story is lacking and the 3D, what they advertised the crap out of the movie with was just painful. Don't ever consider seeing this movie, for the sake of your well being, just don't.
  15. May 11, 2011
    This movie would have been great if presented for what it actually is: A B movie with fabulous cinematography.... It's claim is that it is based on a true story (two of the only true parts being the cave and a chunk of hair being ripped off from a diver ). God knows I love my horror films but I went into this movie assuming it was a good faith action flick genuinely based on a true story. At 1st, the assumption that this may be real made me feel sick, (regardless of the lack of plot) then after verifying the facts I got somewhat angry but most of all cheated.... Sanctum is nothing more than a beautiful B movie. And should it have been marketed as such would have got a 10 from this writer. Expand
  16. Jul 15, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Not a terrible story and could've been made into a great movie. Only problem, the relationships and realizations that were supposed to be positive enough to counteract all the grisly deaths as the movie goes on weren't believable. You're just left with a depressingly drawn out movie and a father and son who magically start reconciling their differences after they're forced into the bowels of the cave system. Expand
  17. Jul 23, 2011
    Sanctum is a terrible film, It was so boring and barely kept me interested in the story at all. This is very disappointing film and I didnt feel for the characters, The father and son were so annoying always **** at eachother that it got on my nerves. Please dont waste your money on this garbage. I would recommend not seeing this film at all.
  18. Oct 7, 2011
    The special effects were good but everything else was awful. For starters the acting was terrible and the characters were boring and uninteresting especially that girl who was extremely annoying and the whole movie I kept yelling "just die already!" SPOILER SKIP TO NEXT PARAGRAPH!!!! When she did die I was so satisfied and happy!! The dialogue was another problem, it was so stupid. Half of the lines that came out of the characters made no sense and were completely unnecessary. Plus at some points in the beginning of the movie it tried to be funny but it wasn't because the jokes were so dumb. The story is based on a true story but it's so horribly told here. It was uninteresting and the pacing was terrible. I know I've been saying a lot of negative things about this movie but there are some positives. The effects are wonderful and it's nicely shot. There were some scenes that were laughably bad too like the end, SPOILER SKIP TO NEXT PARAGRAPH!!!!!!!! where the father is dying and the son has to drown him holy crap that scene was bad. The father kept saying "Help me" while the son was crying and holding his father in his arms. Instead of trying to make this an emotional scene it was laughable it took 5 minutes for him to do it and the acting was so bad during this scene I just kept yelling at the screen, "Just do it already!". This movie had potential given its source material but it squandered it, visually no but everything else yes. The story was horribly told, the acting was awful, the dialogue was stupid, and the characters were boring, annoying and uninteresting. Expand
  19. Feb 6, 2012
    What a painful movie. Just finished watching it and wish I hadn't. Whatchamacallit green screen is noticeable in some parts, which adds to unrealistic atmosphere. But that's not worst of course, while the main older guy is a great actor, the rest is just forgettable. Some gory/bloody scenes make you flinch and look away instead of bite your nails. Full of painful scenes you just want to skip, and I did. Expand
  20. Mar 5, 2012
    Films like these absolutely MUST present you with characters that you make an emotional investment in. Otherwise, as they start dying off one-by-one, you end up shrugging and checking your watch rather than feeling their terror. See The Abyss for an example of how this is done correctly. The entire cast of Sanctum is so brainless and unlikeable that the entire heart of the film is DOA. It's annoying when the amateurs are still questioning and rebelling against the one guy who knows what he's doing 3/4 of the way through the film when he's been completely right all along. Ugh. Expand
  21. May 16, 2012
    A big deception. When I watch the poster of Sanctum I think in a big movie, with an amazing story and a great development, but when I watch Sanctum I found other things, the story is really boring, have a simple and boring development. The performances are good, but any new or biggest. The best of Sanctum are the places that appear in the movie, really beautiful, but no more. Sanctum is a big deception for me, I believe that the movie have other things, other great things, but the final product is terrible. Expand
  22. Jul 12, 2014
    This **** boring as **** Didnt watch it in 3D, where i think it would've been better, with the potential of the underwater visuals. The actors were bad

Mixed or average reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 33
  2. Negative: 8 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    Feb 5, 2011
    The bigger problem with the film, which is genuinely unnerving at times, is what happens when the cavers are not in immediate peril, because they talk.
  2. Reviewed by: Nick de Semlyen
    Feb 5, 2011
    Workmanlike suspenser, with plenty of cold water but sparse chills. When it comes to James Cameron scuba thrillers, "The Abyss" still has the edge.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Feb 5, 2011
    The movie ultimately reveals itself as a pretender with no balls. Creatively, it's all wet.