Awfully Good: Deep Rising
This week we celebrate the 15th anniversary of a forgotten gem.
Deep Rising (1998)
A group of mercenaries attempt to hijack a state-of-the-art cruise ship, only to find that something very angry, hungry and primordial has beaten them to it.
It's easy to dismiss Stephen Sommers as a filmmaker after he gave us such disappointing fare as VAN HELSING and GI JOE: RISE OF THE COBRA. But every time a new movie is announced for the director, I still give him the benefit of the doubt. The reason? DEEP RISING.
Djimon regretted wearing Axe Body Spray that day.
DEEP RISING should not to be confused with DEEP IMPACT, the huggy asteroid movie that came out the same year. DEEP RISING is the opposite of that film, mainly because at no point in DEEP IMPACT does a giant tentacle monster angrily chase Treat Williams and Famke Janssen as they jet ski through an exploding cruise ship.
Mark's last thought: "Probably should've used SPF 50..."
This is such a fun, nasty flick that I can't believe it hasn't developed more of a cult following. It's a monster movie at heart, but with machine gun action, gory horror and a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek comedy. While it's obviously an ALIEN-clone set on the high seas, DEEP RISING is bloody and entertaining enough that I don't give a Xenomorph's ass. It's definitely cheesy and firmly planted in B-movie territory, but I don't think this is necessarily a bad flick like most of those featured in this column.
"Marion, don't look at it. Shut your eyes, Marion. Don't look at Barbara Streisand, no matter what happens!"
The plot offers nothing new, but it follows the age-old formula with enough zeal that it doesn’t matter if you can guess most of what's to come. More importantly, the script is tight and the cast sells it perfectly. Treat Williams, last seen in this column as a zombie cop in DEAD HEAT, makes for a great anti-hero as John Finnegan, the ship captain who reluctantly brings the mercenaries on board. His Han Solo demeanor and snarky disdain for pretty much everyone except for Famke Janssen's sexy thief is one of the film's highlights. The rest of the mercs each have their distinguishing qualities and/or moments to (briefly) shine, and you might be surprised at some of the young actors here: Wes Studi (The Sphinx!), Djimon Hounsou, Jason Fleyming, Cliff Curtis and some guy who looks like a poor man's Colin Farrell.
"By the way, do you have any bubble gum?"
As for the creature itself, it's never really explained outside of one character's scientific conjecture, but it's clearly something out of Guillermo del Toro's Lovecfraftian nightmares. The monster is full of long reaching tentacles, stabby spikes and acid secretions, and apparently its only M.O. is to suck out all your juices before spitting out your dried up skeleton. Nice! When you finally get to see the whole she-beast, the creature design is awesome and the digital effects are surprisingly solid for 1998. One of the most memorable scenes involves Treat Williams shooting a tentacle and bursting it open, only for one of their former colleagues to come sliding out, half-digested and still alive. It's just as awesome 15 years later.
Famke Janssen, you're doing it wrong.
I can't be the only one that loves this movie, right? The end still has me begging for a sequel. "Now what?"
Treat Williams finally confronts the creature and has something to say. [potential spoilers]
A mix of great kills and fun action moments.
Famke Janssen in a tight red dress.
Take a shot or drink every time:
- Someone gets grabbed by a tentacle
- Treat Williams says, "Now what?"
- Treat Williams and Famke Janssen look at each other knowingly
- Somebody runs or drive away from something
- Kevin has low self-esteem
- "If the cash is there, we do not care."