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Thursday, 18 April 2019

Retro Review: DeepStar Six (1989)

DeepStar Six
1989
Cast: Taurean Blacque, Nancy Everhard, Greg Evigan, Miguel Ferrer, Matt McCoy, Nia Peeples, Cindy Pickett
Genre: Science Fiction Horror
U.S Box Office Gross: over $8 million

Plot: At the bottom of the ocean, the DeepStar Six has just discovered a new and deadly alien menace






'B-Movie Aquatic Creature Feature'


Released in the same year as The Abyss - & costing only a quarter of the fraction it took to make and produce this film and one that closely resembles a horror film, DeepStar Six was the forgotten stepchild of underwater sci-fi horror-based movies, with Leviathan completing the trio.

DeepStar Six was directed by Sean S. Cunningham, who is well known for the first Friday The 13th and here, he went in a completely different direction as he focused his attention under the sea. A group of Navy divers find themselves trapped in a submarine with a creature that has a hungry appetite for human flesh. It is said that DeepStar Six was written and created in the same year as The Abyss. DeepStar was penned by Lewis Abernathy, a friend of James Cameron's and he requested that the film would not be released at the same time. Resultingly, this led to Abernathy falling out with Cameron, and yet they later patched things up with 1997's Titanic.

It is competently well made and whilst it takes a while for events to unfold, it seems that a considerable amount of screen time was allocated to each of the characters, whilst the suspense and horror aspects, particularly at B-movie level, is amiably conceived.

For me, anyway, this has a better and intriguing set of main characters than the James Cameron aquatic blockbuster, despite the B-movie casting and the story's runtime at under 1hr 40 mins is far more sufficient. It's pretty interesting: The Abyss became a huge hit in the cinemas in 1989 but watching that film today, it disappointed me in more ways than one - yet in DeepStar Six, it went unnoticed by many over 30 years ago and in watching it today, given its somewhat B-movie status, this was all right.

The film features notable B-movie & TV actors such as Miguel Ferrer (Robocop), Nia Peeples of Fame, Matt McCoy (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, Police Academy 5 & 6) and Greg Evigan of Stripped To Kill & to TV sitcom fans, My Two Dads. There are no headliners in terms of stars, yet in Evigan, he is pretty much the main actor of the film, and in probably his only main box office effort, and wherein the events of DeepStar Six revolve around him as McBride and his crew members. McBride (Evigan) is what one may call the Kurt Russell of the movie, and his character, whilst I expected him to be a bit more gung-ho and a badass, DeepStar Six isn't an ensemble movie, nor a one-man-army type of action flick; rather it's more about the reactions of the team members, how they deal with the dilemma and the manner they get along and communicate with each other. The remaining cast members were all right, though it was good to see the female characters fighting back instead of screaming and being scared witless out of their minds.

As for the creature design, whilst it is not particularly memorable or iconic as the Predator or the Xenomorphs of Aliens, it looks detailed and straightforward from a design perspective, although I also wished it was created so that it looked far more menacing and thus, posed even more of a direct threat.





Final Verdict:

DeepStar Six is worth checking out for sci-fi movie fans and fans of Aliens and The Abyss who want something similar, plot-wise. Whilst it's not groundbreaking and had it had a bigger budget, it would have turned out better as a final product, for what it is worth as a disaster type horror B-movie, I think this is a decent, competent and breezy effort and the casting here of relative TV and B-movie actors, some of whom I'd recognised, with their experience, helped ease my viewing experience.

Despite its commercial and critical drubbing on its original release, whilst it may lack the claustrophobic atmosphere and intensity of Aliens, as well as scares, DeepStar Six was still a pleasing watch, nonetheless.


Overall:


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