Deep Rising

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Deep Rising
Deep rising ver3.jpg
Theatrical released poster
Directed by Stephen Sommers
Produced byJohn Baldecchi
Mario Iscovich
Laurence Mark
Written byStephen Sommers
Robert Mark Kamen
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
CinematographyHoward Atherton
Edited by Bob Ducsay
John Wright
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures (North America/South America)
Cinergi Productions (International)
Release date
  • January 30, 1998 (1998-01-30)
Running time
106 minutes [1]
CountryUnited States
Language English
Budget$45 million [2]
Box office$11.2 million (USA) [1]

Deep Rising is a 1998 American action horror film directed by Stephen Sommers and starring Treat Williams, Famke Janssen and Anthony Heald. It was distributed by Hollywood Pictures and Cinergi Pictures and released on January 30, 1998.



Amidst a storm, Captain John Finnegan and his crew, Joey Pantucci and Leila are hired by mercenaries Hanover, Mulligan, Mason, Billy, T-Ray, Mamooli, and Vivo to pilot their boat across the South China Sea to an undisclosed rendezvous point in the open ocean. Meanwhile, the Argonautica, a luxury cruise ship built and owned by Simon Canton, is undertaking its maiden voyage when a saboteur disables the ship's navigation and communication systems. A large object rises from beneath and rams the vessel, leaving it dead in the water, while the panicking passengers are attacked and slaughtered by unseen creatures.

Finnegan's boat collides with a speedboat shaken loose during the collision, at which point the mercenaries take over and reveal they intend to rob the Argonautica's passengers and vault, before sinking the ship with torpedoes stowed aboard the boat. The group boards the ship, leaving Leila and Billy behind to repair the boat, where they are both killed by the same creature. The group reaches the ballroom only to find blood and no sign of the passengers. Finnegan and Joey go to the ship's workshop to scavenge parts to repair the boat, under the guard of T-Ray and Mamooli. T-Ray goes off to investigate strange noises and is torn to shreds by the creature. Mamooli contacts Hanover, but is dragged off by the creature; as Joey and Finnegan are escaping they run into Trillian, a passenger who was imprisoned for stealing. Meanwhile, Hanover's group reaches the vault and Vivo opens it only to be mistakenly killed by Canton, who was hiding inside the vault along with Captain Atherton, and three other passengers. Mason and Mulligan panic as Vivo dies and kill the three passengers in retaliation. Canton and Captain Atherton explain to the mercenaries that the ship has been attacked by unknown creatures that killed everyone else on board.

Under questioning, Canton is found to be responsible for the ship's sabotage, having hired the mercenaries to sink the unprofitable ship so that he could collect on the insurance. The group is attacked by creatures wielding giant spike-covered tentacles, which eat Captain Atherton. Canton theorizes that the creatures are an extreme evolution of the Ottoia, which drain their victims of their bodily fluids and then eject the carcasses. The creatures attack and the survivors flee; Mason is grabbed by the creature and kills himself by detonating a grenade. Mulligan elects to stay behind in the crew's galley in the last stand until a rescue party can arrive. While arguing with the others, a creature slips in through the range hood; Mulligan scares it off but is ambushed and devoured by another. In a running battle with the creatures, Trillian saves Finnegan's life and the group of survivors find themselves being herded towards the bow of the ship, where they find a "feeding ground" full of chewed-up bloody skeletal remains. Canton, attempting to rid himself of any witnesses to his insurance scam, misleads the others to the bow while he moves towards an exit route. The creatures break through the hull, causing more flooding of the lower decks and separating the survivors. Hanover wounds Joey in an attempt to slow the creatures, but he manages to escape in a dumbwaiter. Joey finds Hanover, being partially devoured by one of the creatures. As an act of mercy, he hands Hanover a handgun. Hanover tries to shoot him in spite; Joey escapes, and Hanover realizes he wasted his last mercy shot as the creature fully swallows him.

Finnegan and Trillian spot an island from a distance and make it back to Finnegan's boat but - having lost the engine parts - find it is useless as a means of escape. Joey returns to the boat and does what he can to affect repairs. Finnegan sets the boat's autopilot to crash into the Argonautica and detonate the torpedoes. Trillian returns to the cruise boat and locates a jet ski with the fuel they can use to reach the island, but Canton arrives armed with a flare gun. Canton encourages Trillian to join him or hand over the keys but she flees and he chases her. Finnegan also returns to the cruise boat, pursues Canton to the ballroom on the main deck, and manages to save Trillian. The creatures smash through the main deck and are revealed to be tentacles of a vast deep-sea monster - the Octalus - rather than individual entities. The Octalus then grabs hold of Finnegan, who shoots it in the eye - blinding it and freeing himself. Finnegan discovers Joey has gone missing, and he and Trillian are chased by the creature, eventually escaping on a jet ski. Canton escapes the Argonautica, jumping onto Finnegan's boat, but he breaks his leg doing so. Crippled, he is unable to disable the autopilot and dies screaming as the boat crashes into the Argonautica, detonating the missiles and destroying both ships and the Octalus.

Finnegan and Trillian reach the island and safety. Joey swims ashore and they are reunited. As the three relax, a loud roar echoes from the forest; the camera pulls back, revealing the island to have an active volcano in the distance and something huge crashing through the trees towards the beach.



Stephen Sommers began writing the script to Deep Rising, then called Tentacle, when he worked at Hollywood Pictures in the mid-1990s. Claire Forlani was originally cast as Trillian St. James, but dropped out after just three days, due to creative differences with Sommers, and Famke Janssen was subsequently cast. Janssen almost did not get the part because the producers felt she was too recognizable[ citation needed ] from GoldenEye , but they relented. Harrison Ford turned down the role of John Finnegan, which later went to Treat Williams, and the film's budget was later downsized. [3] [ better source needed ]

Filming for Deep Rising began on June 12, 1996 and lasted until October 18 of that year. The film was originally set for release in the fall of 1997, but was delayed until the following January. Industrial Light and Magic was responsible for the film's special effects while Rob Bottin who had previously worked on The Thing and on Paul Verhoven's RoboCop was hired as the special makeup effects designer.

The exterior shots of the cruise ship Argonautica was created by CGI, and is an original design not based on any existing vessel. [4] Two models of the cruise ship were created, a 38ft. model for shots of the Argonautica on the ocean, and a 110-ft. model for the sinking of Argonautica. [5]


On its opening weekend the film made $4,737,793 (42% of its total gross), ranking #8. It ended with a total intake of $11.2 million. [1]


Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 30%, with an average rating of 4.2 out of 10, based on 33 reviews. The website's "Critics Consensus" for the film reads, "Its fleeting glimpses of creature feature mayhem are certainly dumb fun, but Deep Rising cribs from far too many better movies to stand on its own." [6] Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert included the film in his most hated list. [7] Ebert called the film "essentially an Alien clone with a fresh paint job". [8] Variety 's Leonard Klady said the film "is an old-fashioned B-movie with A-budget effects, but the quality sheen can't disguise the cheap-thrills hokum." [9]

Ty Burr, writing for Entertainment Weekly called the film "a tightly written, often howlingly funny Aliens knockoff that, in its portrayal of tough men and tougher women under pressure, favorably recalls the work of Howard Hawks", giving it a grade of "B-". [10] Bloody Disgusting wrote, "Excellent cast, State-of-art special effects, and terrific acting, this is a movie that should not be missed." [11]

Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C+" on an A+ to F scale. [12]

It has gone on to become a cult classic. Later Director Stephen Sommers said: "It didn’t do a ton of business, but it has a very fervent following." [13] [14] [15]

Home media

Deep Rising was released on DVD and VHS on October 14, 1998, both of which are now out of print. It was released on Blu-ray as a double feature with The Puppet Masters from Mill Creek Entertainment on October 9, 2012. [16] Kino Lorber re-released the film on DVD and Blu-ray with new special features on August 21, 2018. [17]

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