Horror Movie Review: DeepStar Six (1989)

Coming out in the year of underwater-themed movies, DeepStar Six was the first one of many that included Leviathan, The Evil Below, Lords of the Deep, The Rift (Endless Descent) and The Abyss. It’s no real surprise that it got buried but does that make it a bad film?

While it takes an age to get going, when it does DeepStar Six is an entertaining watch with some clever plot points, good acting and some inventive gory moments.

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The story surrounds the DeepStar Six facility, deep under the sea. It’s aim is to test underwater colonisation methods, while overseeing the installation of a new nuclear missile storage platform.

The crew have conflicting views on what is more important but as it’s a US Navel project, inevitably the nukes take priority. This is a source of frustration for Dr. Scarpelli (Nia Peeples) who wants to explore a massive cavern that is discovered under the planned site. However, John Van Gelder (Marius Weyers) insists they don’t have the time with the deadline for completion fast approaching.

He gets the backing of the captain (Taurean Blacque) to cave the cavern in so they can put the missile site on top.

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If you know your horror, you know how bad of an idea this is. A massive cavern? I wonder what could be living inside…

Unsurprisingly, the detonation forms a massive fissure in the ocean floor releasing an ancient & primal creature. The deadline is no longer the priority, only survival is as DeepStar Six comes under attack.

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Once DeepStar Six gets assaulted by the creature things get a lot more frantic & events play out in entertaining style. By this stage characters have been given plenty of time to breathe and while most are ‘rinse and repeats’ of what we’ve seen before, some good acting helps make them stand out. Even if some of the dialogue is a little too cheesy at times.

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Feeling less like a horror and more like a sci-fi thriller for first half, once the creature does get unleashed things take a darker turn. Characters are offed in fun and inventive ways (the exploding chest one is very cool). It’s very easy to predict just who will survive though and the fake-out ending fails to have impact. In fact the weakest part of the entire movie is it’s ending that is just far too sugary.

The most memorable thing about DeepStar Six isn’t the monster which looks good and uses practical effects. Nor is it the acting or story. No, the best thing about DeepStar Six is the location. Many great underwater shots as well as the facility really sells the ‘deep beneath the sea’ feeling. While it doesn’t have the claustrophobic style of say, Aliens it still feels like a tight and confined place.

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One of the better underwater, sci-fi horror, creature features that exist.

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DeepStar Six
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