Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 27, 2015


The monster tries to make a treat out of Treat Williams
DEEP RISING (1998). Writer/director: Stephen Sommers.

John Finnegan (Treat Williams) and his crew have been hired to take a group of men out to an unknown spot in the South Pacific. What Finnegan doesn't know is that they are heading for the huge cruise ship, the Argonautica, to loot it on its maiden voyage. But when these pirates arrive, they find that hardly anyone is left alive on the ship, discovering mostly bloody skeletons. Apparently a gargantuan, voracious sea creature with a zillion tentacles (with maws on the end of them) has devoured just about everyone -- hundreds of passengers -- and now wants to make dessert out of the pirates; Finnegan and his crew; a pretty thief named Trillian (Famke Janssen), who was locked in the hold; and the duplicitous, slimy owner Simon Canton (Anthony Heald), who wanted to blow up the ship for the insurance. Deep Rising has some excellent and very gruesome special effects, but its tone is too flippant by half, at times turning it into more of a black comedy than a horror film and dissipating the considerable tension. However, the movie is generally fast-paced, slick, creepy and exciting -- more of an action-disaster-creature flick than a horror film -- and features a highly dangerous and rather engaging monster. One scene wherein the survivors discover an abattoir filled with skeletons is especially macabre. Williams [Prince of the City] strikes the right note; Jannsen is competent; Heald is way over the top. Jason Flemyng makes an impression as Mulligan, the handsomest of the pirates; and Kevin J. O'Connor, despite how irritating this actor can be in certain roles (including this one), is good and strangely appealing as Finnegan's engineer, Joey. The few moments of humanism don't quite come off in a movie this callous. The ending left room for a sequel that never materialized. Sommers also wrote and directed the dreadful -- and dreadfully campy -- Van Helsing.

Verdict: Well, it's not It Came from Beneath the Sea, but what is? *** out of 4.

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