Deep Rising (1998)

DeepRisingFor a movie with so much story and set up, it’s shocking how well “Deep Rising” comes together. Stephen Sommers is really committed to delivering a squared jawed hero with a lot of his action movies, and “Deep Rising” gives us Treat Williams in rare form. Director Sommers’ B monster movie action flick is still a lot of fun, despite the aged special effects and slew of sub-plots, some of which are left unresolved. That said, “Deep Rising” has all the ingredients for a fun and raucous action horror film.

It has mercenaries, a giant monster, a band of pirates, a ton of gun fire, some gruesome gore, dark comedy and a touch of Lovecraft for good measure. Did I mention the kick ass surprise ending? Finnegan is the captain of a stealth boat that he uses for illegal and shifty jobs on the sea. He’s been hired by a group of mercenaries to travel to the middle of the ocean for mysterious reasons. Meanwhile on the maiden voyage of the luxurious Argonautica, professional thief Trillian (gorgeous Famke Jannsen) has been caught attempting to steal jewels from the boat’s wealthy clients. Little does the crew of the Argonautica know that they’ve reached an uncharted part of the ocean, a part that happens to inhabit a vicious underwater monster prone to devouring its prey without mercy.

All characters and sub-plots crash in to one another as fates meet, and all pirates, and criminals find themselves having to work together to fight off the Anaconda-like tendrils that are consuming everyone in its sight within the bowels of the yacht. Director Sommers really has his finger on the pulse of the movie, managing to balance dark comedy with genuine tension perfectly. You almost want to see what is boiling around this ship and why the monster within it is so anxious to eat humans, and how it goes about it. The movie lays in to the monster the more it progresses, revealing a vicious and really devious beast with a mouth that doesn’t just devour its prey but inflicts immense pain as it swallows it whole.

Much of what the monster is and where it’s from is kept cleverly ambiguous and Sommers only explains enough of its elements for us to know that it’s by no means friendly. Star Williams has a good time in the role of Finnegan, the unwilling victim of the criminals who is pushed in to the perilous situation, while Famke Jannsen is very attractive as the thief Trillian, who is full of surprises and holds her own in a movie filled with gun toting men. Sommers regular Kevin J. O’Connor also garners some laughs as Finnegan’s mechanic who gets no end of torture from the other characters. “Deep Rising” is definitely Stephen Sommers’ best melding of action and horror to date, and works as a slick one shot monster movie with a killer final scene that leaves the audience wanting more.