Updated: Jul 19, 2021
The 281st review!
I don’t know about you all, but this week has just crawled by, thank goodness it’s Friday. Also, just to clarify, on days I post a video review, I still post the script here in the notes a few hours later. I know some people prefer to read because it can be more convenient and I like to accommodate as much as I can. So, after picking a movie that’s just a few weeks old to start the month, I went something a little bit further back and checked out...
Leviathan (1989) - Amazon Prime streaming
This movie gives off major The Thing and Alien vibes. It opens with a group of people working for some huge conglomerate mining for silver in the Atlantic Ocean. They’re just three days away from their job being finished and being able to go back topside and get paid. You get to glean their personalities from the way they talk with each other and they each fit into a nice little horror archetype. The characters have been stuck down there for three months and the way they interact is very believable, you can feel what they’re feeling. They joke around, get cliquey, snipe and almost come to blows before making up like you’d expect from people completely isolated with only themselves for company.
One of the crew members, Six Pack (guess what archetype he is!), played by Daniel Stern, falls off a ledge in the ocean setting off a frantic search before he and his partner run out of air. During the search, his partner Elizabeth “Willie” Williams, stumbles across a sunken Soviet ship. While searching, “Six Pack” delivers a jump scare, holding a big chest and yelling, “I’m rich!” Unfortunately for the crew, they soon discover there’s a reason that ship was sunk and what’s inside that chest isn’t money.
Once they go through the contents of the chest, things start happening. I’m not trying to say before that is boring. The movie starts off with an extremely tense scene that’s very well done, I could feel my heart beating faster watching these people struggle. Back to the chest though, the medical officer, “Doc” (played by Richard Crenna of Rambo fame) is fluent in several languages, one of them being Russian, so he goes through the documents and the captain’s log and is very unsettled, while the leader “Beck” (played by Christopher Henderson, I mean Peter Weller), doesn’t want anything to do with it, more or less shrugging his shoulders because he just wants to go home. Unfortunately people start getting sick and through bad luck it starts to spread and grow.
That’s about all I’m comfortable talking about as far as plot goes. Now that it’s sufficiently discussed, I have to say the creature effects are top notch. It was done by Stan Winston who has had his very creative hands in some of the most iconic creatures to grace Hollywood. You don’t get too good look at the monster for the longest time, mainly just a tentacle here or there, but when you do finally see it, it’s a nice reveal and it’s not a let down. I liked this movie more than I thought I would. The cast is really solid. There’s no massive stars in it, but everyone is recognizable. Like, you watch and say, “Hey, I know them, they’re from (insert movie)!”
Before anyone decides to call me out, I know exactly who Ernie Hudson is.
The monster’s M.O. is very The Thing-like but once it takes over, it’s obvious. There are some really disturbing effects and sounds coming from the monster and its victims as it grows. There’s a scene where it’s growing and the noises and little movements actually made me cringe. As for the scares, it doesn’t really too much on jump scares; instead it focuses on the dread they all feel and the utter hopelessness of the situation. Any scene where “Doc” is trying to piece together what happened to the ship and its crew is wonderfully chilling. There is also one really good scare involving Six Pack and Ernie Hudson’s character that’s pretty low key but wonderfully done. It’s set up so perfectly and the beauty of it is the character has no idea the actual danger he’s in.
This movie didn’t do so well at the box office because it was released in 1989, a year that saw FIVE total underwater monster-themed movies and only The Abyss was a hit. Still, it’s a solid and entertaining movie that you won’t regret watching.
7 Dr. Chainsaws!
IMDb 5.8 1h 38min 1989 R
Peter Weller leads an underwater exploration team trapped five miles beneath the ocean's surface with a creature that cannot die -- existing only to kill!
DirectorsGeorge Pan Cosmatos
Subtitles English [CC]
Audio languages English