Reel Critics: Escape to an Cameron's 'Sanctum'

James Cameron is in the highest echelon of successful movie directors. His monster hits include "Titanic," "Avatar" and "The Terminator" series. In his latest film he is listed as the producer of the escape thriller "Sanctum," which is based on a harrowing true story experienced by co-writer Andrew Wright.

It follows a team of daring cave-diving adventurers. They set out to explore one of the most complex and dangerous subterranean cave systems in the world. A hurricane strikes their remote island while they are still underground. They soon become trapped in the flooded caves with no obvious way out.

What follows is a predictable tale of desperate people trying to escape from their terrible situation. As they try to find an exit to the upper world, they go deeper into darkness with fatal consequences.

There are some stunning scenes of natural beauty in the style of National Geographic. But the realistic gut-wrenching events lead to tangible feelings of claustrophobia and despair. Overall, watching this harrowing movie turns out to be a real ordeal for the viewer.


Why make a remake?

Nothing sells movie tickets like crazy. Deranged lovers, husbands, motel owners, orphans, babysitters, stepfathers, temps — sooner or later one of them is guaranteed to be coming at ya with a knife or boiling your bunny, accompanied by the sound of shrieking violins.

Now it's "The Roommate," which sounds creepy. Oh wait, it was — in 1992's "Single White Female." They took the same story and threw in some pretty but bland faces (Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, Cam Gigandet) who can't act.

Did they think we wouldn't notice? "Single White Female" was a decent enough movie but not good enough, or even old enough, to merit a remake.

We've all had our share of roommates in our day. I once had one whose mother came to visit for a week and ended up staying indefinitely — mostly on the couch in her undies and curlers. Now that was scary!

JOHN DEPKO is a retired senior investigator for the Orange County public defender's office. He lives in Costa Mesa and works as a licensed private investigator.

SUSANNE PEREZ lives in Costa Mesa and is an executive assistant for a financial services company.

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