I was listening to the Critically Acclaimed podcast which includes the discussion of online critics William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold. Each week, they pick two films, one bad and one good, to discuss as a pair. Before that, they spend time reviewing the week’s new releases. This week, they were talking about The Meg and during that discussion, William Bibbiani brought up the film Deep Rising as the last good sea monster film. Both he and Witney Seibold spoke with such a positivity about Deep Rising that I decided to start looking for it. I found it on HBO and gave it a try.
I will say that I had a good time watching the movie. Sure, it was not the best film I have ever saw and it had some problems, but I enjoyed watching it. If you can suspend your disbelief, there is entertainment to be had in Deep Rising.
John Finnegan (Treat Williams) runs a business where he and his crew would take you on his boat wherever you want to go with no questions asked as long as you pay them. He was bringing a group of mercenaries through a pretty decent storm when we meet them. There is some immediate conflict between the two groups when grease monkey Joey (Kevin J. O’Connor) discovers that they were hauling torpedoes.
Tensions built as the boat came closer to their destination… a gigantic cruise ship, one of the most luxurious in the world. However, there’s a problem on the cruise ship. The passengers appear to have disappeared.
However, the ship is not completely deserted as it becomes clear quickly that there is something monstrous there as well.
I enjoyed the crew of Finnegan’s boat, but I would have liked to have something more at the beginning to introduce me to them instead of simply throwing them into the mix right away. I felt that Joey was played like he was Shaggy from Scooby Doo and I could see how some people may have found him to be annoying (because he was). Still, there was something about him that made you root for him. I liked Leila (Una Damon) and I would have liked more from her than we got.
There were none of the mercenaries, though, that I wanted to make it and when they started to be killed/consumed/drained by the sea monster, I was happy. Still, the fate of the passengers was very frightening and you start hoping they escape simple because they were human beings.
The special effects were okay considering the date of the movie and the creature itself looked solid. It looked good enough for me to not check out every time part of the monster was shown.
The story was fairly simple, although there was a bit of a twist with Anthony Heald as the owner of the cruise ship. Heald played his character with a zeal that goes along with the B-movie villain and his over-the-top characterization fit well with the movie. We also see a young Famke Janssen as the love interest for Finnegan. Her character is not well developed outside of the fact that she is a thief whose overall motives are murky at best.
I loved the ending of the film which brought a laugh to me. “Now what?”
I would thank William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold for the recommendation of a movie that I probably would never have seen had they not brought it up. I was entertained because Deep Rising knew the kind of movie it was and embraced that. It did not try to do more than it should do and, because of that, succeeded.