Crenna xlnt as always. xlnt cast. Hot girls. sceery alien like monsters.
Yeah the ending was a load of bull, but this is a surprisingly effective creature feature for the most part. The special effects and set designs are high-quality, plus Peter Weller and Ernie Hudson really shine.
While the film is in no way as good as John Carpenter's The Thing or Ridley Scott's Alien (which this film is most often compared to) it does manage to invoke some particularly skin crawling sequences and great production values and effects.
A few silly plot choices and a less than stellar final 5 minutes are all that brings it down a star.
Keep an eye out for the skeleton in front of the wreck!
If you like Alien or The Thing this isn't as good but still comparable and enjoyable.
The film is NOT 2h20m despite what Rotten Tomatoes has down
I'd also like to point out the poor rating from reviewers who just enter a _/4 in some wannabe Ebert or Maltin way, get bent.
Leviathan is great underwater creature feature fun that I have no problem watching yearly.
The cast is quite good (though I wasn't sure if Peter Weller was phoning it in or just being Peter Weller) with Richard Crenna giving the best performance. The creature effects are fun and sometimes creepy and the movie moves along briskly and doesn't overstay its welcome.
It is, of course, cheesy at times. The last five minutes of the movie are so different in tone and so bad that it nearly kills everything that preceded it. It could have just ended when they surfaced, but no, we had to get sharks... then more monster... then our hero punching a woman? What?
This movie will unfairly be compared to The Thing and Alien... well, they're fair comparisons in plot, but not in quality. Just because this movie doesn't quite reach those levels in entertainment doesn't mean this movie should be completely dismissed. It's far better than many of the other ripoffs of those movies. If this were a race, Leviathan may be a distant third, but it's still third! That's still a medal!
If you're looking for a sci-fi horror film in the vein of Alien or The Thing, you can't go wrong with this movie. There's nothing so abhorrent about it to not recommend it to fans of monster movies like those.
So the plot here is basically 'Alien' combined with 'Aliens' and 'The Abyss' along with various other horror movies such as 'The Thing'. A small team of undersea miners are on the ocean floor erm...mining stuff, when along the line one crew member discovers a sunken Russian vessel which contains a deadly secret. This turns out to be a mutagen of some kind that infects a crew member killing him, his body then begins to mutate into a sea creature and I'm sure you can guess how this goes.
The general idea is not completely identical to the James Cameron 80's filmography, the creature is basically a toxic mutant which is made up of the various dead crew members. This thing absorbs its victims intellect and is physically formed by the crew members bodies...or something like that. The crew members don't appear to be completely dead, more like trapped within this creatures body or they are being slowly absorbed/digested (?). Anyhow the visual design is not entirely shown in the movie, its kept out of sight and hidden behind lots of steel pipes, but what you do see revolves around tentacles (as usual) and snapping maws. The look of of the beast and the way it mutates does run along similar lines to John Carpenter's 'The Thing' where as everything else is 'Alien' within the set of 'The Abyss'.
Put it this way the special effects are a solid example of old fashioned hands-on craftsmanship with plenty of blood gore goo and body shock horror, the good old days. Despite the fact Stan Winston, Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr. worked on the effects they aren't the best you will see, like I say they are solid and fun for fanboys of the craft but the other movies of the day were better examples. I think the creature is mostly hidden because they knew it wasn't too good, earlier in the film the smaller leech type things were effective but the main creature is a bit of a lifeless lump.
The deep sea base set does actually look pretty good with some obviously solid production values in play. Again if you think of the Nostromo and the Deep Core combined then you have a good idea of the visuals. Lots of metal corridors, pipes, gratings, the odd beige coloured medical bay, beige living quarters etc...its all too familiar really. I did like the deep sea diving suits they use which have a nice futuristic realistic look, more like space suits admittedly but that tends to be the way with these types of movies.
Although not actually filmed under the sea the film does look very good with some brilliant use of indoor sets, heavy mist and lighting, it does look as though its on the ocean floor. This is helped by good camera angles with the crew in their suits when walking around, a great submerged Russian shipwreck and lots of little floating bits in front of the camera to simulate the deep moving ocean.
I guess overall this movie is just way too much of a carbon copy of the other movies I've mentioned. The characters are all extremely cliched and look like they've just stepped off the set of the 'Alien' franchise. Richard Crenna would be the Ash/Bishop character, Ernie Hudson is Parker, Daniel Stern would be Brett/Hudson, Eilbacher would be Lambert etc...and yes I did just mention Daniel Stern who was totally miscast incidentally oh and his characters name is Sixpack. Along with that the plot trundles by exactly the same as the Scott/Cameron flicks. I mean Exactly the same right down to the self destruct finale with loud computer countdown, the company knowing all about the mutagen and setting the crew up and ridiculously similar weapons including the obligatory flame thrower.
The finale doesn't really help its case either with a brief shark attack that ends just as quickly as its starts, the coastguard flying overhead at the exact moment the survivors surface and the fact the beastie seemingly comes back from its watery grave. Its a bizarre finale really as we see the creature getting crushed and then the entire deep sea base implodes...yet it manages to survive.The movie then still continues as we see Peter Weller getting his own back on the company director or representative by punching her out!! he knocks out a woman! Everything about the finale just feels tacked on and rushed, as though they weren't sure what to do...and it really shows. It is a fun deep sea thriller but its not very scary truth be told and in an era of sci-fi classics this movie fell well short I'm afraid, but its not a total loss.
Good actors with Peter Weller, Ernie Hudson, Daniel Stern and Amanda Pays.
Some deep sea drillers get more than they are looking for when they uncover a Russian ship that was sunk for a reason.