Deep Rising is a 1998 American action horror film directed by Stephen Sommers and starring Treat Williams, Famke Janssen and Anthony Heald. It was distributed by Hollywood Pictures and Cinergi Pictures and released on January 30, 1998.
Amidst a storm, Captain John Finnegan and his crew, Joey Panuchi and Leila, are hired by mercenaries Hanover, Mulligan, Mason, Billy, T-Ray, Mamooli, and Vivo to pilot their boat across the South China Sea to an undisclosed location in the middle of the ocean. Meanwhile, the Argonautica, a luxury cruise ship built and owned by Simon Canton, is undertaking its maiden voyage when a saboteur disables the ship's navigation and communication systems. A large object rises from beneath and collides with the vessel, leaving it dead in the water, while the panicking passengers are attacked by unseen creatures.
Finnegan's boat collides with a speedboat shaken loose during the collision, at which point the mercenaries take over and reveal they intend to rob the Argonautica's passengers and vault, before sinking the ship with torpedoes. The group boards the ship, leaving Leila and Billy behind to repair the boat, where they are both killed by the same creature. The group reaches the ballroom only to find blood and no sign of the passengers. Finnegan and Joey go to the engine room to scavenge parts to repair the boat, under the guard of T-Ray and Mamooli. T-Ray goes off to investigate strange noises and is torn to shreds by the creature. Mamooli contacts Hanover, but is dragged off by the creature; as Joey and Finnegan are escaping they run into Trillian, a passenger who was imprisoned for stealing. Meanwhile, Hanover's group reaches the vault and Vivo opens it only to be accidentally killed by Canton, who was hiding inside the vault along with Captain Atherton and three other passengers, who are shot dead by Mason and Mulligan. Canton and Captain Atherton explain that the ship was attacked by unknown creatures that killed everyone else on board.
Under questioning, Canton is found to be responsible for the ship's sabotage, having hired the mercenaries to sink the unprofitable ship so that he could collect on the insurance. The group is attacked by the creatures, consisting of giant spike-covered tentacles, which eat Captain Atherton. Canton theorizes that the creatures are an extreme evolution of the Ottoia, which drain their victims of their bodily fluids and then eject the carcasses. The creatures attack and the survivors flee; Mason is grabbed by the creature but kills himself by detonating a grenade. Mulligan elects to stay behind and try to kill the creatures in a last stand. Mulligan scares off a creature, but is ambushed and devoured by another one. The survivors are herded towards the bow of ship, where they find a "feeding room" full of bloody skeletal remains. Canton, attempting to rid himself of any witnesses to collect the insurance, misled the others to the bow while he moved towards an exit route. The creatures break through the hull, flooding the lower decks and separating the survivors. Hanover tries to sacrifice Joey to save himself, but instead gets grabbed by the creature and devoured.
Finnegan and Joey spot an island from a distance and make it back to Finnegan's boat, but they have lost their engine parts, rendering it useless as a means of escape. They instead set the boat's autopilot to crash into the Argonautica and detonate the torpedoes. As Finnegan and Trillian find jet skis they can use to reach the island, the tentacles smash through the main deck, revealed to be part of a single giant creature. Finnegan discovers Joey has gone missing, leaving him and Trillian to escape while being pursued by the creature. Canton jumps onto Finnegan's boat, but is unable to disable the autopilot. The boat crashes into the Argonautica, destroying both ships and killing Canton and the creature.
Finnegan and Trillian reach the island and are reunited with Joey, who survived the ordeal and paddled ashore using Finnegan's personal watercraft. As the three relax, a loud roar echoes from the forest and something huge crashes toward them through the trees. As the camera pulls back, the island is revealed to be primordial. Finnegan is heard saying his movie catchphrase, "Now what?", as the film ends.
- Treat Williams as John Finnegan
- Famke Janssen as Trillian St. James
- Anthony Heald as Simon Canton
- Kevin J. O'Connor as Joey "Tooch" Pantucci
- Wes Studi as Hanover
- Derrick O'Connor as Captain Atherton
- Jason Flemyng as Mulligan
- Cliff Curtis as Mamooli
- Clifton Powell as Mason
- Trevor Goddard as T-Ray
- Djimon Hounsou as Vivo
- Una Damon as Leila
- Clint Curtis as Billy
Stephen Sommers began writing the script to Deep Rising, then called Tentacle, when he worked at Hollywood Pictures in the mid-1990s. Claire Forlani was originally cast as Trillian St. James, but dropped out after just three days, due to creative differences with Sommers, and Famke Janssen was subsequently cast. Janssen almost did not get the part because the producers felt she was too recognizable from GoldenEye, but they relented. Harrison Ford turned down the role of John Finnegan, which later went to Treat Williams, and the film's budget was later downsized.
Filming for Deep Rising began on June 12, 1996, and lasted until October 18 of that year. The film was originally set for release in the fall of 1997, but was delayed until the following January.
Deep Rising received mostly negative reviews. At Rotten Tomatoes, it has a "Rotten" rating of 29%, based on 31 reviews. It also made its way to the Roger Ebert's most hated films list. In his own words, "Deep Rising is essentially an Alien clone with a fresh paint job". whereas Variety stated that "'Deep Rising' is an old-fashioned B-movie with A-budget effects, but the quality sheen can't disguise the cheap-thrills hokum."
On the other hand, Entertainment Weekly gave Deep Rising a positive review awarding it a B- and stating that it is "a tightly written, often howlingly funny Aliens knockoff that, in its portrayal of tough men and tougher women under pressure, favorably recalls the work of Howard Hawks." while Bloody Disgusting stated that "Excellent cast, State-of-art special effects, and terrific acting, this is a movie that should not be missed."
Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C+" on an A+ to F scale.
It has gone on to become a cult classic.