The Rift – Endless Descent (1990)

Director: Juan Piquer Simón
Starring: Jack Scalia, R. Lee Ermey, Ray Wise, Ely Pouget, Deborah Adair,John Toles-Bey. Spain/USA. 1h 19m

If you’re a fan of underwater horrors such as The Abyss, Leviathan, DeepStar Six etc, then this film will feel really familiar to you. Often seen as a BMovie version of the movies mentioned above due to its lack of originality in the plot, the film is often praised for providing a decent entertaining sucker punch for it’s limitations. Considering that 1989 was the sterling breakthrough for deep sea thrillers involving a host of alien and mutant creatures, it’s a strange step backwards to watch Endless Descent ride on their back 2 years later, but for all its flaws it’s incredibly watchable.

The star of the movie is often overlooked for some of the bigger and better names, R Lee Ermer is often listed as the main actor and while he’s so unreliable noticeable and holds the movie together, technically, Jack Scalia is our hero, and ace guy calle dWIck Hayes, sadly he comes across as a poor man’s version of Mel Gibson as he fights off

The danger below is now the danger within.

When informed that his highly advanced and damned near perfect submarine Siren I has gone missing, brilliant engineer and all round hero, Wick Hayes is forced into service by the military, while on board Siren II with a crack team of other highly trained expects they hone in on the distress single and aim to rescue the ship and crew.

Things don’t go to plan and the crew find themselves up against many unknown terrors from Toxic Seaweed and a host of genetic mutations deep inside a Rift/Cave System, miles below the surface, and they struggle to fight against unknown monsters and viruses as their protective submarine becomes a haven for the creature feature for some vile Gigeresque monsters.

‘You Can’t Hold your Breath & Scream at the Same Time’

It’s quite plain to see that there are a lot of production issues and something lost in translation about the whole look and feel of the movie. A lot of this will be down to a few rewrites and language barriers. After producing Leviathan, Dino De Laurentils helped finance this low budget version of his own larger movie. Hiring a few people for a rewrite of the 250 pages has to be translated from English to Italian and then into Spanish as Juan Piquer Simon doesn’t speak English. This didn’t help onset as all of his direction has to be done via a translator.

It’s easy to pick at the faults of the film, the lack of true originality, the effects are pretty weak apart from a pretty cool headshot, a lot needs to be desired. But there’s a lot of wholesome characters which movie fans can relate to. Cracking one liners, a ballsy anti hero who hates orders, R Lee Ermery’s powerful voice and some crucials nods to other films such as one classic moment when the submarine is travelling through a tight passage and one of the crew, Skeets, says “This feels like a golf ball being sucked through a garden hose” which is one of Ermey’s famous lines from Full Metal Jacket. Simón might not know how to speak English (at least at the time of making the movie) . It might ride on the shoulders of giants but Endless Descent feels like a film made by fans for fans and that always gains respect.

Rating: 4/10

Related: Abyss (1989), Leviathan (1989), DeepStar Six(1989), Evil Below (1989), Lords of the Deep (1989), Underwater (2020)

Lists: Deep Dark Sea Vol 1, 19 Films from 1990 Still Worth Talking About Vol1
Spotlight: Ray Wise, R Lee Ermey
Vs: Leviathan Vs Endless Descent


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