DeepStar Six (1989)

9% – Critics
25% – Audience

DeepStar Six Storyline

A group of U.S. Navy engineers, led by Capt. Laidlaw (Taurean Blacque), are building an underwater base when they inadvertently disturb the lair of a gigantic creature. The monster attacks, and the crew, including lovers Collins (Nancy Everhard) and McBride (Greg Evigan), tries to evacuate, but the facility is badly damaged. After the exterior is breached, the increasingly desperate people become separated from one another, and the creature begins to pick them off one by one.

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DeepStar Six Movie Reviews

Gotta love these underwater monster movies…

Directed by Sean S. Cunningham (of Friday THE 13TH FAME), DEEPSTAR SIX is an enjoyable late-’80s underwater monster romp, which like LEVIATHAN was made to cash in on the success of James Cameron’s THE ABYSS. DEEP STAR SIX retains the interest with a fleshed-out cast of B-movie characters making up the crew of the station, all with their own distinctive traits. The bickering and talking between the crew is enlivened by a string of deaths which, while not explicitly gory, are all different enough to be enjoyable. These include crushing, exploding, depressurising, being ripped in half, and electrocution.

The actors and actresses are all average for this kind of film, they aren’t given much to do apart from try and survive. The best of the bunch by far is Miguel Ferrer (THE NIGHT FLIER), as an on-the-edge nutter who goes over the top – in a big way! It was a pleasure to see the South African guy from THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY pop up too. Although the survivors are obvious from the start (one of the girls is pregnant, which basically means immunity for her) and the film is not at all original (we’ve seen it all many times before) there is a sense of fun and lots of action to make things very enjoyable – and light.

A good companion piece for this film would be LEVIATHAN, as the two are very similar, although LEVIATHAN has the edge in terms of horrific scenes. Also interestingly the ending is exactly the same as the ending of LEVIATHAN, with the final survivors surfacing and exploding the monster who returns for a final scare. Also, like LEVIATHAN, if you think one of the stunt men’s names looks familiar – it’s none-other than Kane Hodder! The special effects are average for the underwater scenes but pretty good for the monster, which resembles a big crab thingy and has lots of moving parts, and so it is quite effective, if not very mobile. It looks pretty anyway and its very big, so kudos there. Lots of action and underwater thrills mean that DEEP STAR SIX, while clichéd, is still a fitfully entertaining undersea adventure.

lesser underwater adventure

Some arrive while others leave an American underwater platform. It’s a mixed use facility where the military is setting up nuclear missiles and civilians are experimenting on long-term colonization. A cavern under the missile site is found but something more is uncovered.

Director Sean S. Cunningham’s claim to fame is making the first Friday the 13th. This isn’t breaking any new ground as much as following a temporary trend in underwater adventures. This pales in comparison to some of its competitors. The actors are second tier character actors. They do functional work but the characterizations are mostly nondescript. Other than an annoying coward played by Miguel Ferrer, the characters need better definition. At the very least, the military personnel need to be wearing uniforms and acting in a more strict manner. The special effects are mostly miniature work. The setting design looks like B-movie leftovers. I’m almost certain that I saw this back in the day but it’s pretty much forgotten until I watched it again recently. This is a monster movie where the monster is rarely seen. It’s an hour before there’s a glimpse of the beast. There is a question of logic about launching missiles from the ocean floor. All of it adds to a lesser underwater adventure.

The Sean Cunningham Version of “The Abyss”

At the bottom of the ocean, the DeepStar Six has just discovered a new and deadly alien menace.

When you come out around the same time as “Leviathan” and even more so “The Abyss”, you are bound to be compared to them. How many movies in a similar vein can there be? This one is much more like “Leviathan” due to its horror slant and less emphasis on special effects, and that might be a good thing.

We get some great 80s personalities, and even if most are not big names, they are faces you have seen many times and would like to see more of. (Maybe we should bother to learn their names.) Best of all, we have creature effects from Greg Nicotero, and stunts from Kane Hodder. Cunningham brings his friends to the party!