The Abyss (1989)


A deep sea drilling rig is commandeered by the military for a search and rescue mission to find a downed nuclear submarine, but in the depths of the ocean they find that they are not alone.

The Abyss is a rather frustrating film. For most of the story, James Cameron’s pedigree as a skilled director of exciting blockbusters comes to the fore as he creates a nice otherworldly atmosphere, a collection of likeable characters, plenty of tension and some rip-roaring action scenes set below the waves. Unfortunately all of this excellent groundwork is wasted on a final act that can only be described as a huge anticlimax. He attempts to create a sense of wonderment in the style of Close Encounters – by which the film is clearly influenced – but without drama or context the aliens just seem to be exactly what they are; some rather dated special effects. It’s a real shame because the journey there is extremely entertaining which serves to throw into sharp relief just how disappointing the conclusion to the story really is.

Certainly worth a watch for the exciting build up but the ending invariably leaves me feeling a little cheated.


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