Review: ‘Leviathan’ Doesn’t Break New Ground, But Still Entertains

By September 5, 2014

You probably won’t find many “hardcore” Leviathan fans out there. Even among the hardcore supporters of movies like Deep Rising and Event Horizon, you’re not likely to hear many furious debates about the cult classic status of 1989’s Leviathan… and yet there’s still something so predictable, simple, and unironically basic about this undersea mashup of Alien and The Thing that makes it entertaining even when it’s being patently unoriginal.

The second of two underwater monster movies that tried to “pre-ripoff” The Abyss six months before it actually hit theaters — the other being Sean Cunningham’s Deepstar SixLeviathan comes from the director of Tombstone, Cobra, and Rambo: First Blood Part 2… which means that Leviathan is full of cool character actors and some impressive moments of action, but kinda lacks something in the thrills, chills, and scares department.

Leviathan 2

All you need to know is that a broadly obvious gaggle of stereotypes are gathered in an undersea research facility when one of the stupider crew members (as played by Daniel Stern) decides to down some ancient (and biologically tainted) vodka that he found on the bottom of the ocean. That one evil sip signals the beginning of the end for Captain Peter Weller, frequent jogger Amanda Pays, the hot ‘n’ curvy Lisa Eilbacher, the always adorable Hector Elizondo, the effortlessly cool Ernie Hudson, the overtly inscrutable Richard Crenna…

You get the point. A monster knocks all of them off. A few jolts here, a few icky parts there, and then a finale borrowed/stolen from 100 other monster movies, up to and including the “super-manly pun/quip right before the big monster blows up.” Oops. Spoiled the whole movie. Sorry.

Anyway, here’s a 75-minute podcast / commentary for George Cosmatos’ Leviathan, which is now available on Blu-ray, but hopefully the podcast works just as well with or without the movie. Thoughts, comments, requests, etc. can be directed to @scottEweinberg, and THANKS for listening.

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Scott Weinberg
Writer. Movie critic. Producer. Semi-actor. Wise-ass. Film advocate. Horror geek. Cat fan. Twitter junkie. Follow me at @scotteweinberg.