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Sanctum Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Your brain will get the bends. Read full review


Grae Drake Profile

Eye candy with tepid thrills. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 25

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    A documentary on the formation of stalagmites would have been more compelling.

    Read Full Review

  • 40

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Michael Rechtshaffen

    Banal dialogue, over-modulated performances and melodramatic scoring combine forces to sink the stirringly photographed proceedings quicker than that treacherous flash flood.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Sanctum is far from a good movie, just as 3-D is far from the movie industry's savior. But it certainly looks good, and watching it through those plastic glasses reopens your eyes to the promise of the third dimension.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Adam Markovitz

    As we go deeper into the cave, walls squeezing, water rising, the movie has a narrative pull as sure as gravity.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Sanctum reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 15+

Shallow adventure movie about deep caves.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this intense 3-D adventure movie set in the world of cave diving was produced (though not written or directed) by James Cameron and feels very much like a smaller-scale version of one of his epics -- like Titanic and Avatar -- and is just as focused on spectacle. There's plenty of heavy language (including many uses of "f--k" and "s--t"), and the violence includes fighting and blood, plus gruesome drownings and dead bodies -- all of which is amplified by the 3-D. You can also expect some drinking and smoking and a little innuendo.

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence. Is it thrilling or disturbing? How does the movie achieve that reaction?
  • Is this movie more or less scary than similar films that have clear "bad guys" -- or even monsters -- to confront? Why?
  • Is it necessary for people (like the character of Frank) to shut down their emotions in order to be expert explorers and survivors?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: The movie's major theme involves the struggle to overcome the odds and survive. The characters must learn to work together and solve new problems at every turn. The secondary theme involves an emotionally distant father and his son finding a connection. But not everyone learns a lesson here ... or even survives.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Frank -- the older, experienced explorer -- has learned to shut off his emotions, putting raw survival ahead of everything else. He's a good man to have in an emergency but not the best person if you want someone to trust or talk with. But over the course of the film, he remembers what it's like to be human and to empathize with others.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: Characters die in horrible ways, from bashing their heads on rocks to drowning. Viewers see bloated corpses and blood, and characters make gurgling sounds as they choke on blood. One character catches on fire. Characters also fight and squabble every so often, and there's one knockdown brawl with fatalities.

  • sex false1

    Sex: One character brings his girlfriend to the caves; she wears revealing clothing from time to time. Also a small amount of sexual innuendo.

  • language false4

    Language: Heavy language includes many uses of both "f--k" and "s--t." Also "ass" "a--hole," "c--k," "damn," "goddamn," "oh my God," "hell," and more. One character raises a middle finger.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: A minor character is briefly seen smoking. A major character brings a bottle of hard liquor down into the cave; characters occasionally drink from it during the movie's first third, but no one gets drunk.