Leviathan is a movie that can easily be called a rip off of The Thing and Alien, but also can be considered its own sort of beast. It may not have been well received back when it came out in 1989, but thanks once again to Scream Factory, it finds a perfectly cozy spot on Blu-ray. Let’s take a dive into this review together, to see whether you should spend your hard-earned money or not…
Short nitty-gritty plot description from the back cover is as follows: On the dark and forbidding ocean floor, the crew of a deep-sea mission rig discovers a sunken freighter that harbors a deadly secret: a genetic experiment gone horribly wrong. With a storm raging on the surface and no hope of rescue, the captain and his team are propelled into a spine-tingling battle for survival against the ultimate foe – a hideous monster that cannot die…and lives to kill!
Tatlock’s Quick ‘n Dirty Recap: Deep below the Atlantic Ocean, a secret lies buried. Mineral Researchers on a routine expedition, accidentally stumble upon an old sunken Russian ship and little do they know, a deadly experiment is about to be unleashed on them.
Tatlock’s Opinion: I’m pretty sure Leviathan had everything going against them when they started making this movie. There was already negative thoughts at the beginning, due to James Cameron’s The Abyss being made at nearly the same time, plus, add on that the special effects had to be rushed by Stan Winston and co., you get some pretty good issues wreaking havoc on your project. Honestly, though, I feel like Leviathan pulled through and managed to make a damn good underwater horror film. It’s in no way original, as you’ll see bits and pieces pulled from both The Thing and Alien. The creature design actually seems like something that was leftover from the set of The Thing. Stan Winston, along with Alec Gillis, Tom Woodruff Jr. and other special talent, did an admiral job at what little time and budget they had. Yes, as said by Ernie Hudson in the special features about the creature, it does look like a giant pissed off mutated chicken, but thankfully, for the most part, it’s kept in the shadows.
Leviathan certainly has a well-rounded cast, with Peter Weller playing hesitant leader Steven Beck, Richard Crenna playing the loony doc, Ernie Hudson playing the annoyed worker and Amanda Pays shower scene playing on a loop in my mind. It’s definitely filled to the brim with recognizable faces, which makes you wonder why it didn’t do much better back in the day. Oh well, can’t change the past.
I really enjoyed the movie except for one tiny piece, the ending. Some decisions are made that stunk to the high heavens and you know what, it really peeved me. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, so that’s pretty much all I can say about that.
Blu-ray Opinion: How many times can Scream Factory hit the ball out of the park? I guess a whole damn lot. Leviathan is no exception in the awesome releases department. The image looks fantastic, with no noticeable issues and the audio is nice and loud. Included are two audio choices, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. I listened in 5.1 and it glorious, especially the fantastic Jerry Goldsmith score. It may not fall under the collector’s edition brand, but the included special features are extremely welcome. A few interviews with the cast and one long interview with several of the Stan Winston crew. The interviews are informative and quite a bit of fun.
– New Interviews with actors Hector Elizondo, Ernie Hudson and creature effects artists Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff Jr.
Verdict: Leviathan is basically just a fun, unoriginal movie, with a cast that is full of recognizable faces. It’s got some pretty good work by Stan Winston and a score that is a delight to the ears by Jerry Goldsmith. It’s got the recipe to be a wonderful film, but for some reason, it never did hit it big. I’m hoping now with Scream Factory’s Blu-ray available, this movie will finally find a solid audience.