Once upon a time, in anticipation for the presumed success of James Cameron’s forthcoming THE ABYSS, everybody and their mother made an “Alien Under Water” movie. As far as this shrimpy, Johnny-come-early sub-genre goes GEORGE P.COSMATOS‘(OF UNKNOWN ORGIN) LEVIATHAN leads the pack. Does that make it a good movie? Well, let’s just say that it’s good-ish. The cast is certainly worthy, robot-faced PETER WELLER, sexy AMANDA PAYS (who fought a similar fishy fiend in THE KINDRED), GHOSTBUSTER ERNIE HUDSON and C.H.U.D. alum DANIEL STERN are just a few of the familiar faces you’ll find floating around in the tank. They’re all coworkers looking forward to the end of a 90-day shift 16000 feet under water mining minerals of some sort. (The crew dynamics and nice guy geologist WELLER‘s struggle with command are well done.) The fly in the soup is the discovery of a sunken Russian vessel “Leviathan” whose cargo includes mutated skeletal remains and hard to resist toxic vodka. Rather than getting a visit from the standard pink elephant, this harmful hooch, spiked with an experimental gene-altering element designed to produce a “homo-aquaticus,” has the drinker growing scales and maybe a tentacle or three. After infection is detected, any and all of the crew’s attempts to punch out early are snubbed by greedy number crunching, Medusa-eyed corporate talking head MEG FOSTER via picture phone. Written by BLADE RUNNER‘s DAVID PEOPLES, the film and its morphing monster’s effectiveness varies depending on what movie it’s currently trying to ape. When it’s mimicking THE THING‘s isolated paranoia and THE FLY‘s body nausea it fairs well. It’s only when it tries to fit into the too big for it’s feet (fins?) ALIENS shoes that it stumbles. Legendary STAN WINSTON‘s special effects work have certainly been better showcased before; early glimpses of the monster are intriguing yet the final reveal of a flounder headed heap are less so. (You know that you’re in trouble when the beast you’ve designed has to rely on an eleventh hour peppering of random sharks to provide back up.) It’s hard to be harsh on a film that from it’s inception was born to be a second banana, with it’s hokey humor, amiable cast and B-monster trimmings LEVIATHAN, blemishes accepted, does ultimately rise above the surface to provide seriously fun, though sometimes groan-inducing late night entertainment.indelible scenes

  • STERN‘s nick-name “Six-pack” is repeated in every other sentence
  • Mouth in a hand! Me likey
  • Dejesus’ (MICHEAL CARMINE R.I.P.) leachy attack
  • Those darn sharks!
  • Psycho-eyed MEG FOSTER (was anyone else forced to watch her in THE SCARLET LETTER in school?) gets punched in the face
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Adam Ross
14 years ago

When will the world get a satisfying medical explanation for Meg Foster’s eyes? And will they be auctioned off after her death?

8 years ago

I remember getting this one confused a lot with Deep Star Six, which I kind of think I liked better. You have a weakness for snow, I’ll watch anything aquatic. It’s all about what sparks the fear. I live in the frozen tundra so I despise the snow. But, perhaps because I can’t swim, horror in the ocean always tickles me in all the right places.