Treat Williams is the innocently hired Captain Finnegan, who owns a boat needed by a slug of dangerous passengers secretly transporting warheads. These bad-guys intend to rob then scuttle the distant casino ocean liner Argonautica which has parked its ass right over the deepest most distant part of the ocean. One of the captain's crew, Joey (Kevin J. O'connor), provides comic relief without ever being the least bit comical. All characters are equally cliche.
When they reach the ship, it is torn up & abandoned. Where'd all the rich folks go? One of the few remaining survivors is Famke Janssen who'd had her own scam going on before she got locked in a vault just before whatever happened happened.
Two actors are the reason I was interested in seeing the Deep Rising (1998) despite its unpromising premise. The first reason was Famke, whose role turned out not to be that interesting, any random starlet could've played the character in the same undistinguished manner.
The other reason for watching this is Wes Studi, who I just adore, though his scarred visage means he is typecast as the villain all too often. This time he's leader of the murderous modern-day pirates who'd hoped to rob the casino liner.
The idea that a dull sod of an actor like Treat Williams is the "hero" & the ferociously elegant studly Studi is a "villain" strikes me as bass-ackward, but that's the film industry for ya. The one thing less imaginative than the stories they green-light is their ideal of casting.
How I long for a new cliche which presents a villainous foreign-or-minority actor & a superhero square-jawed honky hero, but at the critical moment of action, the honky gets his head bitten off & the cool villain has to rise to the occasion of becoming the hero for the rest of the story. But oh well. At least Wes gets a wonderfully gross death scene that permits him to go out stern-visaged & bold to the last.
"Borrowing" a lot of the plot from Alien (1979), we don't have to wait too long before we discover that it was a CGI horror from the deepy depths that ate up all the passengers.
Animated tentacles with big mouths at the tips have been busting through the steel walls of the ship, grabbing people to gobble them down, sometimes coughing them back up half-digested & still alive. There's plenty of tentacle action & gore to make this pleasing enough as an exploitation film.
For climax involves the appearance of the "whole" monster in the biggest casino room, so we see to what the toothy tentacles were attached. It's kind of like Cthulhu, enough so it might as well be added to filmographies for H. P. Lovecraft "Cthulhu mythos films."
It's odd how individual tentacles were capable of doing so much damage but when the whole critter pops up it can threaten the leading man & leading lady without much success.
Although our last-two-standing are supposedly a couple thousand miles from anywhere they escape safely on a jetski, because hey, if we're stupid enough to watch this movie we're stupid enough to buy that ending.
It's a bad movie obviously, but it delivers what a tentacled monster movie is supposed to deliver, without cheating, so I'd rate it pretty highly merely for doing exactly what it set out to do.
For another film that taps into the edges of Lovecraftiana, see also:
The Covenant (2006)
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl