'DeepStar Six' Review: Not All Aliens Come From Space
Going into my final written review for Monster Movie month, I was worried. It was another assignment chosen by my fellow writers, and last week's written review about D-Wars was a terrible chore. Luckily our podcast review selections have almost all been entertaining. This month isn't as bad as Disaster Movie Month was, but the genre certainly has the potential for terrible stuff. I was pleasantly surprised watching Deep Star Six.
After six months at the bottom of the ocean for reasons of national security, a crew of misfit, cranky professionals are anxious to get back to the surface and to their day to day life. They're setting up underwater nuclear missile silos in case of attack by foreign powers. They rush the mining operation meant to stabilize the missiles when they fire, opting to blow up an underground cavern instead of changing the site. At the same time, we find out that over the course of history the area of the site has had multiple sightings of strange, unearthly creatures and massive sonar contacts under the waves. They decide not to postpone the detonation in favor of investigation, and the resulting explosion causes the sea floor to collapse in to the depths, exposing the underwater cavern. It's filled with fish and creatures never seen before, along with something that likes to kill people. We finally get a glimpse of the thing at an hour and six minutes in.
When the computer tech decides to secure the missiles prior to the team leaving the station, a wording mix up in the computer program ends up setting him on a path to launch the nukes, and because he's an idiot, he just follows the instructions, detonating the nuclear warhead underwater. The shock wave hits the main base, and the crew go in to damage control mode, working to keep the base from crushing in on itself. They stabilize the base, but the life support fails, the cooling system for the reactor fails, and the path to the evac shuttle gets flooded. All the while the creature is still floating around outside. The crew set about bypassing the flooded compartments to try and escape before the reactor goes critical, and the monster manages to get inside the facility. The plot is pretty standard from there. The creature kills people, people go crazy with fear and do dumb things, stuff explodes.
This film was made ten years after Alien and three years after Aliens, and it borrows pretty heavily from those two ancestors. The sets are almost identical, with compact and drab walls, lots of metal, odd curvatures, switches and buttons that light up the walls, and tight corridors that force the characters in to conflict with each other and the monster. Deep Star Six even uses sonar to imitate the motion control sensors that the Alien franchise made iconic. The characters all feel very similar to the ones from Alien, with grumpy technicians, overly gung-ho masculine figures, a seasoned captain, and an intelligent, independent woman protagonist. The only differences comes in the lack of shadows in Deep Star Six that the Alien franchise used so masterfully, and in the set being painted yellow and blue.
Deep Star Six does seperate itself with some really entertaining deaths that come from things other than the featured monster, and one extremely interesting character played by Miguel Ferrer. His portrayal of Snyder is one of the most interesting I've seen in a monster movie so far. The monster itself is also an interesting creature. It's a mix between a giant crab and the tremor worms from Tremor, and though it takes forever to appear on screen, it's well worth the wait.
All in all Deep Star Six is an interesting film that seems to have flown under the radar of cult horror movies in favor of it's space based ancestors. It's got a few interesting characters, some entertaining dialogue, and some truly remarkable death sequences that make up for it's lack of true originality. However, I will say that the ending was a little frustrating, but it's far from a large enough problem to ruin the rest of the film. If you love the Alien franchise but have watched them all to death, check out Deep Star Six for a new version in the same vein of films.
Final Say: Watch It