DS6 - The Simulation is Broken

True story: a few nights ago I was clicking around on Amazon Prime looking for something to watch. I didn’t want anything too deep, or difficult, just something I could kind of be present for. I came across Deep Star Six. I had a vague feeling that I had seen this film as a child, but had no memory of the movie itself, so I decided to give it a shot.  While I was watching I started to think about its similarities to Leviathan (which I had recently re-watched).  That led to thoughts about the fact that there are quite a lot of underwater horror films (leviathan, Deep Star Six, The Abyss, The Rift, etc) and a lot of them seem to be ripoffs of Alien to some extent. Then there are films like The Meg and Deep Blue Sea which are just re-workings of Jaws 3. Anyway, I decided that I should write something about underwater horror. I thought that I’d really enjoy diving into the ways that these films transport the claustrophobia of Alien to the depths of the ocean. Then I went to sleep.

The next morning I found this at IO9. They had jumped up to write an article about deep sea horror before I could. That sort of thing drives me mad.  

Seriously, you think that it’s just google and amazon keeping track of everything you think in order to bombard you with ads for Wendy’s ten seconds after you think that a burger would be good for lunch, but it’s so much more. Think about sea monsters and ten content providers are churning out the annotated history of gill-men to get it on a website to pull in your clicks and resulting ad revenue. The simulation glitches sometimes.

Where was I? Oh yeah, DeepStar Six.  As was discussed above, it’s a horror film set under water. It’s directed by Sean S. Cunningham, who you may recall created Friday the 13th and gave us House (the slightly comedic horror movie, not the Hugh Laurie doctor show).  It revolves around the crew of an experimental underwater Navy facility where they are testing underwater colonization methods for some reason that is never quite clear. Friends, a lot of things in this movie are never quite clear.

One day the crew is out making some explosions and accidentally release a prehistoric sea monster that then terrorizes the base. It’s a pretty by the numbers tale, honestly.   Everything that you expect to happen happens. The sub pilots who open the rift that releases the creature venture into the rift stupidly, then when sonar reveals something huge coming for them they fail to high-tail it out of the hole. They end up dead, and so cannot warn the others of what is coming.

Deepstar Six is riddled with bad attempts at humorous dialogue, rote characterization, science mistakes that would embarrass a six-year-old kid, and piles of dumb. The cast blunders their way through ridiculous set pieces and none of it ever seems to matter.

We get an obligatory shower sex scene, people chopped in half by malfunctioning equipment, violent decompression, this club has it all! 

The cast is filled with second tier talent. Only Miguel Ferrer would go on from here to make a real impact in Hollywood. Greg Evigan is as close as this movie can muster to real star power, and he's a star in collapse.  

The entire thing is just ridiculous and kind of a slog. Skip this one and watch either Leviathan or The Abyss.

-Nathan Tyree