In the annals of cult classic monster flicks, most can be viewed objectively and have a number of points that lead to an understanding of why they’re revered by fans. It may be nostalgia, the sheer popularity of the actors or director involved, or how the film has held up over the years. Then there are instances where it’s difficult for a fanbase to explain exactly why they love a movie or what makes it something they go back to again and again.
These are your popcorn flicks, guilty pleasures, and comfort movies. They’re what you put on after a particularly bad day when you want to dissolve into your couch, turn off your brain, and get lost in a fantasy world. We all have them – whether we’re proud to consider ourselves a fan or would feel rather embarrassed for others to know how many times we’ve watched them. Twenty-five years later, one of those movies that has slithered its way into these ranks is 1998’s action horror, Deep Rising.
Directed by Stephen Sommers, it stars Treat Williams, Famke Janssen, and Anthony Heald, who have to battle against mercenaries, thieves, and sea-dwelling, tentacled monsters aboard a luxury cruise ship. On its maiden voyage, that cruise ship is attacked by both the mercenaries AND those appendage-laden beasts, although it is later revealed that the Mercs were hired to sink the ship as part of an insurance scam by the owner, Canton (Heald). His plan was almost foolproof if it wasn’t for those pesky monsters.
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They’re theorized to be an evolved version of ancient Ottoia, worm-like creatures who feast on their victims by draining them of their bodily fluids. There are plenty of grandiose scenes involving people being sucked dry by the monsters, with explosions, big guns, and screams aplenty to give Deep Rising that authentic 1990s action movie feel. Of course, it can’t be that simple, as it is later revealed that all those tentacled creatures are actually part of one REALLY big sea beast.
Re-watching Deep Rising today, twenty-five years after its initial release, a few things are clear. One – those late ’90s CGI effects (by none other than Industrial Light and Magic) are painfully noticeable, as are the looks and styles of the characters. Two – what was intended to be intense and action-packed when it was first released now feels campy and goofy. And three – it’s easy to see that this is one big homage to the Alien franchise.
Upon its release, Deep Rising received (at best) neutral reviews from critics and moviegoers alike. It wasn’t immune to scathing criticism, though, with some reviewers calling it “hokey” and “brainless.” On Rotten Tomatoes, it holds a 43% audience score and a 30% overall critics score. So why is it regarded by many to be a cult classic and a fan favorite? Does it really matter?
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As previously mentioned, sometimes we love a movie just because, and attempting to examine the reasons why could potentially end up turning us off from it or causing us to reconsider our opinion. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here – a quick internet search will show that not all regard this as a masterpiece, and there are just as many negative comments about it as those of endearment. The same could be said for virtually any form of entertainment, though, if you search long enough.
As awards season ramps up, we will be inundated with talk of the previous year’s best films; the ones that critics raved about and everyone can’t stop talking about on social media and news outlets. They’re the cream of the crop, the big-budget blockbusters that will be remembered for years to come for their innovation, intelligence, and mastery.
There will always be those movies, just like there will always be our guilty pleasures. Both deserve to be remembered and discussed. There are times when we want to have our collective minds blown by the sheer genius of filmmakers. Then there are times we want to sit back, forget about the world around us, and enjoy a goofy, over-the-top story about an ancient, gargantuan tentacled beast sucking the life out of everyone.
The post Why ‘Deep Rising’ Is a ’90s Guilty Pleasure Worth Revisiting appeared first on HorrorGeekLife.