A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Deep Blue Sea

August 3, 2011

Deep Blue Sea

Fair warning: this review will contain spoilers for the movie. I try hard not to include spoilers in my reviews but most of what I liked about this movie that I loved so much the first time I watched it cannot be explained without resorting to them.

I first saw this when it was released on DVD way back in 1999 and at the time it astonished me with the way it flaunted the conventions of this sort of horror movie. As with Sharktopus this is a movie very aware of itself and its roots. Sharktopus, however, revels in its cheese and fulfills every expectation of the genre. As we watched that movie yesterday Amanda and I were easily able to predict exactly who was going to die because the characters fit so perfectly to the stereotypes you expect from a movie like this. Of course the evil scientist is doomed. Of course the pushy reporter is. Sadly so is the third wheel friend. This movie, on the other hand, revels in defying such expectations.

The moment in this film that I completely fell in love with it is when Samuel L Jackson’s character Russel Franklin, the charismatic CEO of the unfortunately named Chimera Corporation, is eaten by a shark when he is in the middle of a rousing speech. That single moment convinced me that this movie was something special and unexpected. This movie doesn’t just kill its only big-name leading actor – it does it in the middle of a “Here’s what we’re going to do” speech. Then there’s L.L. Cool J as the chef Preacher who complains that the brother always dies in this kind of movie.

What I did not remember when I watched this last time was the atrocious video quality. I suspect that part of the problem is the television we’re watching it on – Amanda’s parent’s TV on the Cape where we’re spending the night – which has a degree of latency that makes the picture ghost and look washed out during faster camera moves. That can’t account for all of the flat and ugly look of the film though. I don’t know if it’s just poor lighting or low quality film stock – but the whole film, despite being a big budget theatrical release, has a distinctly direct to video or made for TV look to it. It’s only a small step up from Megaladon with its all-digital sets. Still – I enjoy this movie. I stand by my assessment that this is better than your average shark attack movie. Although, I have to admit, the plot is fairly standard.

A research team on an isolated rig in the middle of the ocean has developed a cure for Alzheimer’s from a serum they extract from shark brains. In their hurry to generate as much of the serum as possible they genetically manipulate the sharks to give them bigger brains. For some reason the sharks use their bigger brains to wreak all kind of havoc, killing everybody they can reach and tearing apart the facility. The crew trapped inside are being picked off one by one as they try to find a way out of the flooded facility. It’s pretty standard “they tampered in God’s domain” stuff, really, which makes it that much more impressive that I enjoyed it so much.

I’ve watched a lot more cheesy shark movies in the decade or so since I last watched this one, but I still stand by my opinion that this is one of the better ones. Not as purely enjoyable as Sharktopus or as wonderfully awful as Sharks in Venice, but a worthy addition to the genre nonetheless. I like how it defies my expectations while at the same time being so typical a monster movie. I love Samuel L Jackson – because he’s awesome in everything he does. I even enjoy Thomas Jane, who was a no-name actor as far as I was concerned when I watched this and delivered a fun performance as the rebel-with-a-troubled-past and hero of the movie.

We’ve got three more movies to go in our self imposed Shark Week, and I’m afraid none of them are quite this good. Wish us luck getting through them!

August 3, 2011 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , , ,

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