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Now what?
John Finnegan

Deep Rising is an underrated 1998 Stephen Sommers film, and arguably his best work. The basic plot is that our hero, boat pilot for hire John Finnegan (Treat Williams), is contracted by a group of mercenaries to transport them to a luxury cruise liner that they intend to rob. When they arrive on board, they realize that no one is there. It appears that someone, or something, has killed all the guests.

Sounds stupid? It is. But one of the things that makes this movie such an excellent and endearing Guilty Pleasure is that it knows exactly what it is, and doesn't take itself seriously for one moment. It also succeeds thanks to a surprisingly good cast, fast pacing and good humor throughout.


This movie contains examples of:

  • Accidental Murder: Canton accidentally axes Vivo in the head when he believes that it was the creature on the other side of the door.
  • Attack of the Monster Appendage: The monsters are actually the tentacles of a bigger beast.
  • Badass Longcoat: Hanover. He loses it halfway through.
  • Better to Die Than Be Killed:
    • When Mason is grabbed by a sea monster that will slowly and painfully digest him alive, he detonates one of his explosives before it can eat him.
    • Also played with when Hanover is grabbed by one of the monsters. Joey hands him a weapon as an act of mercy, only for Hanover to start shooting at him. While Joey escapes, Hanover tries to take his own life and discovers he doesn't have any bullets left.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Lampshaded. The writers, aware that the plot will require Bottomless Magazines, introduce the primary weapon of Hanover's pirates as an exotic "Chinese" minigun assault rifle that is auto-cooling, water-tight and has a thousand round magazine. The small size is still preposterous.
  • Catch Phrase/It Got Worse: "Now what?"
  • Chekhov's Gun: Or in this case, Chekhov's torpedoes.
  • Colliding Criminal Conspiracies: There's a Gambit Pileup involving a thief, mercenaries, a captured cruise ship and a pack of sea monsters.
  • Cool Boat: The Argonautica.
  • Combat Tentacles: Near the end it turns out that the protagonists have been facing nothing but these until they encountered the head.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Joey.
  • Derelict Graveyard: In the opening scene of the film, before we switch to the main plot the creatures are seen travelling through a deep sea ship graveyard, some of them hundreds of years old, all of which they presumably attacked, ate all the people on it, and sank the ships afterwards. There are even the remains of whale skeletons besides the derelict ships.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Finnegan destroying one of the monster's eyes with his shotgun, allowing him and Trillian time to escape.
  • Disney Death: Finnegan comes back to the boat to see that Joey's gone, and he assumes that he was eaten by the creature. Later, when he's on the island with Trillian, Joey comes paddling onto shore on Finnegan's surfboard.
  • Drool Hello: As the remaining group of survivors discuss what to do next, one of the monsters drips slime/drool onto Joey's shoulder. He proceeds to spaz out and opens fire on the monster, causing it to split and spill out the partially digested (but still alive) remains of Billy.
  • Dueling Movies: With Alien: Resurrection.
  • Dwindling Party
  • The Elevator From Ipanema: Lampshaded.
  • Eye Scream: Finnegan pokes out one of the creature's eyes on the boat.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: What the creatures do to their "food." Their victims are swallowed up, have their liquids effectively drained and whatever's left of the body being spit back out. Oh, and did we mention that you're still alive when you get spit out? Dying afterwards is a mercy.
  • Foreshadowing: There are several allusions to the revelation that the creatures are actually the tentacles of a humongous octopoid monster, most notably Finnegan's anecdote about the octopus and the bottle.
  • Ghost Ship: Somewhat subverted in that the main characters are seeking out the cruise liner intentionally.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Andy Brown has a pretty sweet boat, with Beni as his mechanic. Jean Grey is a classy thief. Sagat leads a crew of mercenaries, of which include Kano and Joseph Cinque. Dr. Chilton is in cahoots with the mercs. Guess looking after Hannibal didn't pay well.
  • Hired Guns: Hanover's team.
  • Improbable Taxonomy Skills: And how, Canton! More glaringly, the taxonomic group he claims they belong to is actually extinct in Real Life, being known only from fragmentary fossils. Yet he somehow describes its behavior, which would be pretty darn improbable even from a paleontologist ... let alone, a cruise ship designer like Canton.
  • It Can Think: At one point late in the film the monsters start herding the remaining humans towards their feeding area.
  • It's Personal: Joey and Finnegan (especially Joey) after Leila's death.
  • Karmic Death:
    • At the end of the movie, Simon Canton attempts to get away on Finnegan's boat without the others after trying to kill them. When he jumps onto the boat from the cruise ship, he breaks a leg. Unbeknownst to him, the torpedo filled boat has been rigged to run into the cruise ship in order to explode and kill the creature. When Canton realizes this, it's too late and the last thing he sees before dying is Finnegan's computer screen which reads "Game Over".
    • Hanover's death mentioned above. He could've spared himself the horrific fate of being a sea monster's meal, but rather than accept Joey's gun as an offer of mercy, he tries to shoot him out of spite. Of course, it was the last bullet, so cue the scream.
  • Kraken and Leviathan: The monster.
  • Lady in Red: This is Trillian's outfit for the first half of the film.
  • Large Ham: Anthony Heald, especially towards the end.
  • More Teeth Than the Osmond Family: The creatures have to open wide for this to be really noticeable, but when they do it's quite scary. The primary mouth is also completely littered with teeth.
  • Oh Crap:
    • Canton, when he realizes the boat he's on is about to self-destruct.
    • A more understated one happens when Simon Canton explains to the others what the creatures are capable of.
  • One-Liner: "What are you looking at?"
  • Outrun the Fireball: On a jet ski actually.
  • Phlegmings
  • Ruthless Modern Pirates: The mercenaries.
  • Smart Ball: Canton's theory of the creatures' origins is completely out of left field.
  • So What Do We Do Now?: The ending with the heroes now stranded on an island that seems to have more monstrous creatures they have to deal with. The page quote is the last line as they find this out.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: The villainous mercenary group seems to be made up of this: Vivo is always talking about food (Gluttony), T. Ray threatens with violence all the time (Wrath), Mamooli talks about his desire to have sex with women from every country (Lust), Jason Flemyng says that the group will "kick ass and take names" as well as taunts a monster and claims it is nothing (Pride), Hanover is paranoid, distrustful and later ends up shooting at someone who is going to live and not him (Envy), Mason is seen stuffing money into his pockets (Greed) and Billy complains about all the work he has to do (Sloth).
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The sea monsters, who continue to relentlessly pursue the heroes despite suffering extreme gunfire trauma from doing so every time. One might also wonder why the entire creature attacked the ship in the first place seemingly in pursuit of a bunch of microscopic humans, but this is justified if you apply a bit of logic. Something of its immense size would need to devour whales just to get by, and it probably mistook the ship for one.
  • Took a Level In Jerkass: At first, Canton's plan was to destroy the ship as an insurance scam, but to make it so all of the passengers live. Later though, he uses the others as bait so he can escape himself, and tries to kill Trillian and steal Finnegan's boat. Fortunately, though, he meets his aforementioned Karmic Death in the end.
  • Traveling Pipe Bulge: When the worm monsters pass through pipes.
  • Vasquez Always Dies: Alas, poor Leila. What a horrific death you must have suffered.
  • The Worf Effect: T. Ray, the biggest and most violent member of Hanover's mercenary crew is the second of our main characters to be killed by the monster after Leila above.
  • You Just Had to Say It:

 Joey: "I ask you, man, could it get any worse?"

Lights go out.

Finnegan: "Thanks, Joey."

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