MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Down 1,220 this week

Sanctum (2011)

5.9
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 5.9/10 from 42,246 users   Metascore: 42/100
Reviews: 207 user | 237 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

An underwater cave diving team experiences a life-threatening crisis during an expedition to the unexplored and least accessible cave system in the world.

Director:

Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

Live Chat with Keanu Reeves

We conducted a Live Chat with Keanu about his upcoming film John Wick.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 30 titles
created 13 Dec 2010
 
a list of 26 titles
created 26 Jul 2011
 
a list of 46 titles
created 22 Feb 2012
 
a list of 24 titles
created 28 Oct 2012
 
a list of 25 titles
created 2 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Sanctum" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Sanctum (2011)

Sanctum (2011) on IMDb 5.9/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Sanctum.
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview:
...
...
...
...
...
Crazy George
...
J.D. (as Christopher Baker)
Nicole Downs ...
Liz
...
Judes
Cramer Cain ...
Luko
Andrew Hansen ...
Dex
John Garvin ...
Jim Sergeant
...
Chopper Pilot
Nea Diap ...
Kastom Shaman
Edit

Storyline

The 3-D action-thriller Sanctum follows a team of underwater cave divers on a treacherous expedition to the largest, most beautiful and least accessible cave system on Earth. When a tropical storm forces them deep into the caverns, they must fight raging water, deadly terrain and creeping panic as they search for an unknown escape route to the sea. Master diver Frank McGuire has explored the South Pacific's Esa-ala Caves for months. But when his exit is cut off in a flash flood, Frank's team-including 17-year-old son Josh and financier Carl Hurley are forced to radically alter plans. With dwindling supplies, the crew must navigate an underwater labyrinth to make it out. Soon, they are confronted with the unavoidable question: Can they survive, or will they be trapped forever? Written by Universal Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The only way out is down


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some violence and disturbing images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

4 February 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

James Cameron's Sanctum  »

Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£859,064 (UK) (4 February 2011)

Gross:

$23,070,045 (USA) (25 February 2011)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally the production seriously considered shooting in real underground caves. However, the practicalities of lugging all the equipment into such tight, confined spaces - not to mention the freezing cold temperatures of the water within the caves - soon precluded that. See more »

Goofs

When Josh first descends into the surface pit, he's Aussie rappelling with his rack attached to his back. When he reaches the gal part way down, his rack's in front. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Dex: Josh? Wow, your old man let you come up for air?
Josh: Oh you're kidding, Dex.
Dex: Oh you're gonna be in the shit.
[big hug]
See more »

Connections

Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #1.3 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Ride of the Valkyries
(uncredited)
Written by Richard Wagner
Performed by Ioan Gruffudd
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Take it from a caver, the details are very accurate
24 February 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Sanctum is an action thriller involving exploration of an extensive, world-class cave system in Papua New Guinea. The movie is inspired by an actual flood event in an extensive cave in the Nullarbor Plain of Australia in 1988. It is not a documentary, but designed to be a realistic, albeit embellished, account that includes non-stop action as the team is faced with its deadly situations and decisions. Although released in 2-D, 3-D, and IMAX formats, Sanctum is not a science fiction or horror movie. There are no monsters, weird creatures, on humanoid inhabitants, such as are found in the recent films, The Cave, The Cavern, and Descent (Parts 1 and 2). And it is not a fantasy underground adventure like the recent remakes of Journey to the Center of the Earth and Alice in Wonderland. Sanctum is about caving, an adventure sport that is practiced by knowledgeable and safety-minded people throughout the world.

Most movie goers may not recognize the authenticity of the techniques and equipment used in the film. As one who has spent over 45 years exploring and studying caves in over 35 states and several countries, I am familiar with modern caving in some of the great cave systems on the planet and I personally know many of the cavers who are making new discoveries every year. Therefore, I can attest to the great care that the director Alister Grierson and writer-producer Andrew Wight have taken to provide realism to the cave setting. In fact, Wight was a survivor of the Nullarbor event and is an experienced caver and diver. That having been said, Sanctum takes some liberties to create an exciting story. Nearly every activity in caving is included in this epic, such as climbing, rappelling and other rope work, squeezing and negotiating tight passageways, and of course cave diving. This story shows what can go wrong with each of these if care is not taken or if safety is ignored. Sanctum is an adventure thriller that consists of a long string of incidents, dilemmas, and solutions. Each situation is believable on its own merit and has happened at one time or another in caving. But in Sanctum, all of these have been combined, one after another, and continually pose challenges and demand solutions. It reminds me of the classic and entertaining cliff- hanger movies of old. This makes for an exhausting tale in which the audience feels the tense and claustrophobic situations. It is unlikely that such a string of events would ever be encountered by a single caving expedition. However, individually accidents do happen, although they are relatively rare because cavers strictly abide by established safety rules.

What disturbs me is that many of the reviewers of the movie to date miss the point of the film and show an ignorance of what caves and caving are like. Here are some typically unfair remarks and why these are so.

"There is little character development." Caving is very focused. When you are underground, you only think about your surroundings and mission. You do not think about the outside world and your life there, much less about your interpersonal relationships with your fellow cavers. It is true that when caving, you learn a lot about your compatriots and their personalities (just like in the movie), but you do belabor interpersonal relationships. Team members are selected based on their proved track record underground. If there are challenges and threatening conditions, you focus on those as a team, as in the film. Many reviewers apparently wanted more psycho-drama among the protagonists.

"The dialog is terse, unrealistic, and too loud." I disagree. Under the emergency conditions such as shown in the film, the dialog of the characters would be similar. There would be a leader and a plan would develop, just as we witnessed in 2010 in the case of the trapped Chilean miners. As for loudness and screaming, this is the only way to make yourself heard in the presence of running water in the echoing confines of cave passages. I know this from experience. One's senses in a cave are very much focused on sight and sound and the immediate surroundings.

"It is a tedious tale." Yes, trying to escape through a cave system that is flooding could easily be tedious and, given the extent of the cave in Sanctum, finding routes and traversing them would take considerable time. Cave exploration is not a fast process.

I have been on hundreds of caving trips, including some grueling ones in long and complex cave systems. For me, the representation of the features in the cave and the techniques of exploration are portrayed quite well in Sanctum. Again, this movie is an adventure story that accurately shows what caves are like, even though it combines many of the dangers into a thrilling series of unfortunate events. It is a fictional tale, but realistically portrayed.

Reviewers who expected Sanctum to be a high-culture movie or one that explores interpersonal interactions among the characters have missed the point completely. Unless they have gone on trips into extensive and wild caves, they have little idea of what caves and caving are really like and what this movie is all about. They can not possibly understand the dynamic among cavers under adverse conditions. I find more faults with the reviewers' logic and understanding than they can legitimately find in the film. The movie stays true to what extensive caves are like and the techniques used to explore them. Given that, it is also one heck of an adventure thriller.


228 of 284 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
A very bad film Name16
Inspired by an Australian Story. Mercurio_Cristallo
cannibalism? lindsey372
This movie grew on me mmoore325
why did the girl cut the rope? was that boiling water? reelchick2010
Discuss Sanctum (2011) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?