Deep Rising

02/14/2019 07:36

Film: Deep Rising

Year: 1998

Director: Stephen Sommers

Writer: Stephen Sommers

Starring: Treat Williams, Famke Janssen and Anthony Heald



This was a film that I used to watch a lot when I was growing up. I remember it hitting one of the movie channels and watching it for the first time. It was then on regularly so I used to catch it quite a bit. I got the opportunity to see it again when a podcast had this as its monthly movie challenge. The synopsis for this film is a group of heavily armed hijackers board a luxury ocean liner in the South Pacific Ocean to loot it, only to do battle with a series of large-sized, tentacle, man-eating sea creatures who had already invaded the ship.

I want to lead off stating that the synopsis is a bit misleading. There aren’t a group of them, the creature is a large octopus, but each of its tentacles has a mouth on the end of it. To get into this film, we start off with a quote about the Marina Trench and how deep it is. It states there are many disappearances over the last 100 years in the area that are unexplained.

We then see the ocean liner on its maiden voyage and everything is going good. We do see someone who works on the ship go into the computer mainframe and put in a disc that shuts all communication down. The man who paid for the ship is Simon Canton (Anthony Heald). Along with Captain Atherton (Derrick O’Connor), they catch Trillian St. James (Famke Janssen) a wanted thief on board. She is locked in a food locker until they reach port.

With a parallel story, there is John Finnegan (Treat Williams). He has a boat with his crew, Joey Pantucci (Kevin J. O’Connor) and Leila (Una Damon). They are taking a group of mercenaries to a destination. Finnegan is known for his discretion and didn’t ask questions. The mercs are led by Hanover (Wes Studi). Pantucci noses into their cargo to find a bunch of torpedoes. They also mount on a launcher on the front of the boat.

Things take a turn when something stops the ocean liner. We then see whatever it is attacks. The creature is quite large and powerful. It seems the target for the other boat is the ship. Whoever cut off the communication is working with Hanover, but they weren’t expecting what attacks the ship.

I would probably state here that one of my biggest fears is open water. I’ve never been on a cruise, but I have been smaller boats when I can’t see land around me, it gets my anxiety going. Part of my fear comes from what could be at the bottom of the ocean, which this film also plays with as well. I do honestly believe there could be an octopus or squid that is this large. Is it possible that it could attack a ship like this? Probably not. I also don’t know what the truth is about how many ships go missing in this area as well.

What I will say about this film is that it is quite cheesy. I do like it to an extent. Finnegan is quite funny with his one-liners. The real comedic relief though is Pantucci. He just has great timing and everything I’ve seen him in he also brings a level of humor.

The concept of the film is good as well. I won’t give anyway the reveal of who is on the ship that is helping the mercs, but I thought it was believable. A little short-sided, but I’ve seen crime shows with similar ideas. The creature I really love though. I think it is quite terrifying for the reasons I listed above.

It does run a little bit long though. It never gets boring and I think the pacing is fine. A film that is as cheesy as this though should really be at about 90 minutes. This runs about ten minutes longer than that. There are parts that could be cut out of them walking around trying to figure out what happened, as it doesn’t really add anything to the overall story. I do like how the film plays out, but a little bit darker of an ending would have been preferred. For a 90’s film though, it is really fitting.

This brings me to the acting for the film. Williams is interesting as I like him as the hero. He is some what of a bad guy, because he will do whatever for money. Despite this though, he does have a character arch of doing what is right. He does fall into the 90’s trope of needing to have one-liners that aren’t the greatest. Janssen I thought was solid as well. She is quite resourceful. I don’t know if I buy that she would fall for Williams as quick as she does, but then again, it could be a ploy she is using as well. I also find her quite attractive. Heald is solid and I like the twist of his character. I’m a big fan of Studi as a villain in this film as well. He fits it so well. It was crazy to see the list of actors who are his henchmen. There is Jason Flemyng, Cliff Curtis, Clifton Powell and Djimon Hounsou. They are all fine in the film, but just a bit over the top. I would also say the rest of the cast round out the film for what was needed.

Something that was hit or miss though was the effects. To start with the positives, some of the creature CGI I thought looked good. It is very difficult bring something of this size to life and I think it helps the confided place they are in. There’s not a lot in the way of practical effects, but I think the aftermath of the bones looked pretty good. To go a bit negative, some of the CGI for the creature looked fake and you could tell. There was also a spot where our characters are chased by water that was CGI as well. I get that you are trying to protect them, but it took me out of the film.

Now with that said, I do have some nostalgia for this film which is going to alter my rating. The story and the concept of the film I like. I could see hijackers doing what they did. I also believe there could be creatures like this deep in the ocean. The problem becomes them coming up as far as they do in this film. Acting in the film I thought was fine for what was needed. The effects of the film were hit or miss, but I do think it was shot well. It is also paced nicely, but it is a tad too long. The score of the film really didn’t stand out or hurt the film in my opinion; it did fit for what they needed. I find this film overall to be above average, but if you like aquatic horror, I’d give this one a viewing.


My Rating: 7 out of 10