DeepStar Six (1989)

DeepStar Six (1989), produced and directed by Sean S. Cunningham.

Civilian (?) contractors for the Navy are setting up a nuclear missile launch platform (?) on the ocean floor. In a hurry to get done they disturb a cave and release an unseen awful thing that keeps coming and coming.

Of the three underwater SF thrillers released that year -- with Leviathan (1989) and The Abyss (1989) -- this is the least of them, probably the cheapest and fastest. I'm not following their decompression physics and we get just glimpses of the creature.

Many familiar faces, but no big stars. Top billing goes to Taurean Blacque, remembered from Hill Street Blues.

Miguel Ferrer is the weak link in the crew and makes the most of his character. He tells them at the outset that he has been down there too long. He gets the blame for much that goes wrong but a lot of it is bad luck and an impossible situation.

Elya Baskin -- 2010 (1984), Moscow on the Hudson (1984), The Name of the Rose (1986) -- is a Russian member of the crew. Might want to talk to HR about that.

As always, Alien (1979) is the template for this sort of story, and we have the colorful griping blue-collar workers in an industrial setting. Underwater, like space, is a hostile environment where you can fly around and encounter monsters, but where no one can hear you scream. Because the hull is collapsing and everyone else is screaming.

The two worst cliches of the plot: (1) countdown to the reactor meltdown explosion and (2) the final jump scare, destruction of the monster, and obligatory happy romantic ending.

And why do they have shotguns on the sea floor?

Photographed by Mac Ahlberg -- From Beyond (1986), Re-Animator (1985), Trancers (1984).

Available on Blu-ray from Kino with three commentary tracks: