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Friday, March 11, 2011
DVD Review: ALIEN FROM THE DEEP (1989)
---------Review by contributing writer Scott Baker---------
I have to start this review by describing how disappointed I am with this film. I had very high expectations going in, but after watching about an hour of the movie, I was ready to turn it off. I pressed on however, but was even more disappointed by the time the credits rolled.
If you’ve never heard of ALIEN FROM THE DEEP, it is a 1989 Italian ‘horror’ film. Here is the synopsis courtesy of the DVD case cover:
Somewhere deep in the jungle a chemical corporation dumps tons of toxic waste in a still active volcano. Two environmentalists try to expose these illegal ways of getting rid of hugely dangerous waste, but they get caught by the vigilantes working for the company. One of them, the super-hot Maria Giulia Cavalli, manages to escape and she is saved by a snake farmer who lives alone in the jungle. Together they try to bring down the company, but it’s too late. Years of chemical poisoning have spawned a deadly monster that is set out to exact revenge on humans that have unknowingly brought him to life. Directed by legendary Antonio Margheriti, the unholy master of Italian B movies, Alien from the Deep is one of the most beloved Italian rip-offs. A wildly entertaining ride, the movie is an inventive crossover where lots of different genres and styles are mixed. Loads of gore and action, plenty of bloody shoot-outs, a hugely entertaining monster (the infamous “Big Claw”), and some very titillating moments courtesy of the stunning Mrs. Cavalli. What more can you ask for?
What more can I ask for? Well…how about a good movie for starters.
ALIEN FROM THE DEEP has a decent premise to start off with, but the execution is horrendous and the writing is beyond terrible. I cringed several times during the film, not because of what I was seeing on-screen, but because of the horrible dialogue between the characters. At times, I felt like I was listening to something a four year-old child had written.
The acting is mediocre (and that’s being polite), with non-memorable characters and some hokey acting. Actress Maria Giulia Cavalli’s character comes across as a dim-witted, non-feminist throwback to the 50s, rather than the strong-willed eco-conscious activist that she is supposed to be portraying. The only faintly shining light is Charles Napier’s performance as the evil head of the EChem security forces. He is at least believable as a hard-assed jerk.
The special effects in ALIEN FROM THE DEEP, while decent for the time period, are nothing to write home about. The creature design is interesting but not really practical or functional, so I found myself dwelling more on how or why the creature would look like that instead of what it was actually doing on the screen. And as for the ‘loads of gore’ and ‘bloody shoot-outs’ promised on the cover, that’s not quite accurate. I think there are two semi-gory scenes in the whole film and the shoot-outs are nothing more than bang-bang-argh-I-got-shot type of action. Yawn.
Probably my biggest complaint about the film is how the first 60 minutes is spent on nothing really related to the creature or horror in any form…it’s just build-up. Since the film is only 90 minutes long, you can see where this is a big let-down. And again, the DVD cover is inaccurate on its description of the plot: from what little we hear about the creation of the creature in the movie’s dialogue, it is NOT something man-made…it is something that came out of a fireball that fell in the lake. That’s all we get.
While ALIEN FROM THE DEEP is not the worst film I’ve seen in 2011, this is still one that I wish I could un-watch. I do understand that this is a B-movie, but even those have to have standards. I would avoid this one unless Jonah Hex is all checked out…and even then, I’d be hard-pressed to have to decide between the two.
I have loved horror movies for as long as I remember. This site is devoted to my love of the horror film. Please read and comment as I love a good horror flick discussion! Also, feel free to email me at: ZombieHayes@hotmail.com if you have an idea for a future post or if you have a horror related product/film that you would like me to review. You can also follow me on Twitter (username FRIGHTFAN) and join the 4H fan site on Facebook!