Deep Rising ★★★★

Down the years, Hollywood has made so many really good monster horror films that there are really rather a lot floating around underneath the big name acclaimed offerings that don't get nearly enough attention. Say hello to Deep Rising.

A bunch of armed hijackers led by Wes Studi hire the boat of salty old sea dog Treat Williams to speed out to a luxury liner and loot it. When they get there, they find practically no-one alive except for, most notably, sexy pickpocket Famke Janssen. Oh, and a 200ft sea monster that appears to have eaten practically everyone on board. One of those things you don't want to see through a glass bottom, I suspect.

Well, it shouldn't work, obviously. For a start, it's directed by Stephen Sommers, who really is very crap indeed for the most part. Then you learn that the character Janssen is playing is called Trillian. That's her first name. Plus, no disrespect to him, it's led by Treat Williams. A decent actor, certainly, but never a leading man. This should have gone straight to DVD and ended up as a middle-of-the-nighter on Syfy.

But it really is a great laugh, constantly action packed, and with some impressively disgusting gore that is over-the-top enough to not derail the generally quite jokey tone of it all. It perhaps lacks the quality of one-liners of something like Lake Placid or Tremors while the support cast is slightly weak (even if Anthony Heald is very good as the snivelling owner of the cruise liner) with Jason Flemyng somehow managing the trick of mangling his own English accent at times. How the hell do you manage that?!

The creature effects are superb even if you never really see the whole creature in one shot and the last 15 minutes or so are tremendously inventive and very exciting. One or two characters rather tamely disappear or die and it's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I always have a good time when watching it.

Hollywood does seem to have forgotten for the most part how to knock out fun little films like this - when it does brainless entertainment these days, it tends to take it a bit too literally and you end up with your brain dribbling out of your ear by the end of it. More films like Deep Rising would make a lot of people a lot happier with the big studios, I reckon.

Steve G liked these reviews