The fact that Ben Wheatley is helming Meg 2: The Trench seems ludicrous on the surface.
The hard indie horror movies Kill List, Sightseers, and the psychedelic historical drama A Field in England helped the English writer/director establish his reputation. Sure, when he added big names, his movies became a little bit more marketable. These actors included Tom Hiddleston for the shockingly bizarre High-Rise, Brie Larson for the shoot-em-up Free Fire, and Armie Hammer for Netflix’s lifeless Rebecca adaption. However, Wheatley has displayed cynicism, and perhaps even a nasty streak, in each of his films, indulging in the baser human instincts with a snarl and a sense of showmanship.
Therefore, when it was revealed that this Ben Wheatley would be helming the follow-up to the shark movie The Meg, which is so ridiculous it’s fantastic, it seemed like a joke. He had performed. He had experience working with famous people. But there is a significant difference between Jason Statham outwitting a huge shark on a jet ski and the dark humor of, say, J.G. Ballard’s dog-eating satire.
The movie Meg 2: The Trench begs to be viewed as a silly popcorn flick. And it will be satisfying there in certain ways. But there is unmistakably a resentful undertone coming from Wheatley, and it is directly directed at his listeners. Wheatley’s attitude ultimately undermines the naturally insane buoyancy that this film demands.
August 4, 2023
Images and Video Credit: Warner Bros