If you’ve seen those gripping previews of the movie “Sanctum” and plan to see the movie, consider this a spoiler alert. At least, consider it an alert because people need one when Hollywood puts out films that as one critic put it, are visually stunning but morally vapid.

“Sanctum” comes off in the trailer looking like an action thriller, and it has a lot of that. You can even see in the commercials on television that there’s something not quite right about the dramatic conclusion the film seems headed toward, but it’s a fast-paced trailer and hard to make out what’s going on in those death defying scenes.

Trouble is, that’s where it’s headed, though what the story line defies is the traditional Judeo-Christian value that life is sacred and must be preserved or defended until natural death. The story weaves in killing, but peddled as usual under the guise of compassion or mercy or the only answer…

Somewhere in my stacks of research is the keen insight of Pope Benedict on the cinema becoming the new church, the place where modern culture goes to be fed and nourished on a new scripture for a new age.

Hollywood film expert Barb Nicolosi, a cutting edge Catholic industry insider and incisive critic, has a quote on her blog that sums up that thought.

“Theaters are the new Church of the Masses-where people sit huddled in the dark listening to people in the light tell them what it is to be human.” – 1930′s theater critic

Barb put out a warning about this film. She said she wants all the parents out there to be warned about the movie “Sanctum” produced by Avatar’s James Cameron. “In the end, it comes down to a gut-wrenching, irrational pitch for euthanasia.” Aimed at the 15 to 30 year old demographic, just to be sure to capture that generation in the cultural wreckage the Boomers wrought.

Trib movie reviewer Michael Phillips nails it.

An Australian production, the film contains a tiny kernel of “based on a true story,” that of a particularly rough underwater caving expedition undertaken by “Sanctum” producer and co-writer Andrew Wight, who’s a rock star in his field and a pal of diving enthusiast Cameron. That risky, dangerous 1988 expedition claimed no casualties. Grimmer than “127 Hours,” this movie is like a remake of “And Then There Were None” directed by Jacques Cousteau…

Here and there an image of spectral beauty, assisted by the 3-D technology, floats into view and captures our imagination. But the script, which really should’ve been called “Sanctimonium,” has a serious case of the bends.

As for the message to younger audiences about offing the suffering elders, a Facebook commentor remarked..

How old is James Cameron? He should be careful what he wishes for.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....