Saturday, 16 November 2013

The Underrated

First in a series where I re-examine films I feel to be unfairly maligned or forgotten. Warning: There will be spoilers. First up-

Deep Rising (1998)
Director: Stephen Sommers
Cast: Treat Williams, Famke Janssen, Anthony Heald, Kevin J O'Connor, Wes Studi

"Now, what????"

Way back in early 1998, I got a VHS tape (yup.....a VHS tape) free with an issue of  a popular British film magazine. On this tape was a collection of trailers for films due to be released that year and two of them caught my eye for different reasons. The first was a teaser trailer for the US remake of Godzilla, you know the one, with the older gentleman fishing and catching an unexpected bite. I thought it looked awesome and I couldn't wait to see it which is more than could be said for the second trailer for a horror film called Deep Rising. It looked awful and I decided to give it a miss, which I did for a few years. Fast-forward 15 years and if you asked me which film was the better of the two I wouldn't hesitate to say the one that features underwater creatures terrorising an Ocean Liner.
Deep Rising, while not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, is just such a fun little film with a very simple premise. A group of mercenaries hire Finnegan (Williams), his ship and crew to take them far into the ocean where a cruise ship will be. They plan (unbeknownst to Finnegan) to rob the cruise ship and steal the priceless jewels and such that it is carrying. When they get to the ship which has stopped (due to an inside man) they board, not knowing that underwater tentacled man-eating sea creatures have attacked and killed most of the people on board. They find Trillian (Janssen) who was imprisoned in the freezer by the Captain for attempting to steal the jewels herself and together they try to escape the ship and the slippery beasts that has made it their new home....
The only R rated movie to date by director Sommers, the film has its fair share of blood and gore without going too far (it is rated 15 in the UK) but it also has plenty of humour. Performance-wise, the film varies, Williams is good as the smart-ass heroic dude and Janssen plays a character that proves to be tougher than some of the 'bad-ass' mercenaries. It all culminates in a rather cheeky ending that leads to a sequel that never happened.  I am pretty sure Sommers never actually planned on an follow-up at the time, it was just the ending he wanted, and it's pretty awesome.
A great little monster B-movie with a game cast, fun characters and its tongue firmly lodged in its cheek, I'd recommend this more than I would that other monster movie released the same year....

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