Should You Watch: Breaking Surface (2020)

What Is It About?

In Breaking Surface, a Swedish survival thriller film directed by Joachim Hedén, two half-sisters, Ida and Tuva, go on an isolated diving trip that goes awry, forcing them to use their skills and instincts to hopefully overcome the dangers of deep-diving.

How Scary Is It?

The darkness of the depths can be anxiety-inducing.

The film fits the standard survival thriller mold with characters placed in a dire and deadly situation against nature and the relentless presence of Murphy’s Law through a freak accident. It’s a tense, white-knuckle experience that hinges on a race against time with a constant display of panic-induced decisions and anxiety-inducing claustrophobia at several feet below the surface. As improbable as some scenes are, the science behind deep-diving is acceptable, at least to someone like me who has no knowledge of it, and together with impressive underwater cinematography, makes for an exciting watch.

What Do I Like About It?

I appreciate that the film takes the opportunity to make the main protagonist, Ida [Moa Gammel], one of the half-sisters, more substantial with a backstory that is highlighted by family drama. Her rocky relationship with her family is explored – though only at the surface level – and it plays a relevant part in her characterization.

It’s also creative to see that the action of the film doesn’t solely take place underwater as it widens the scope of thrills in other aspects that are often mundane outside of a survival plot (e.g. opening the trunk of a car).

Everything seems hopeless.

What Do I NOT Like About It?

Some character decisions are annoying, compelling you to offer your own suggestions of how things should be done (In fact, there’s one scene where Ida could have avoided another tragedy while searching a house and I feel appalled that she did what she did). These decisions, and even some events, sometimes feel contrived and simply seem like ways to stretch the film out.

Should You Watch It?

Breaking Surface is a typical survival film that sometimes feels familiar but offers enough thrills for its runtime with its interesting and exhilarating set-up underwater. You can give it a try.

The sisters work together to try to survive.

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