Leviathan (1989)

leviathan poster 1989 movie
5.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Nice set designs, complexity of shooting underwater scenes

Rehash of a whole bunch of other genre pictures

Movie Info

Movie Name: Leviathan

Studio: Filmauro

Genre(s): Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s): March 17, 1989

MPAA Rating: R

leviathan monster daniel stern

Cool…when I saw it in The Thing like seven years earlier

A Tri-Oceanic Corp underwater mining crew stumbles upon a sunken Soviet vessel called Leviathan.  When Sixpack (Daniel Stern) and Bowman (Lisa Eilbacher) drink vodka from the Leviathan, a plague breaks out on the rig.  Something is happening to crew and as the disease spreads, the danger begins to grow…a storm is brewing on the surface and the crew of the rig led by Steven Beck (Peter Weller) and Doc Thompson (Richard Crenna) are fighting for their lives against a creature that no one has ever seen.

Directed by George P. Cosmatos, Leviathan a science-fiction horror film.  The movie was released to mixed to negative reviews and a poor box office return.

Three big underwater movies were released within a year.  The Abyss was the artsy, big budget one, DeepStar Six was the cheap horror monster one, and Leviathan falls somewhere in between.  Leviathan feels very derivative and though there are some horror jumps, it isn’t a very good film.

leviathan peter weller

Scream if you want Leviathan 2!!!

The movie has the basic set-up of Alien combined with The Abyss.  The sunken Russian sub-ship trope is the basic propeller of the plot (aka Soviets are bad and scary) and the classic “a hurricane on the surface” keeps the characters stuck in the water.  The movie becomes an Alien survival story complete with the evil corporation and the monster in the ship slowly killing characters (with a bit of The Thing mixed in since it absorbs them).  It kind of goes as expected with the character who are heroes and survivors easily visible.

The cast is pretty decent.  Peter Weller was a mild star after RoboCop and plays the “strong leader” of the group.  Amanda Pays isn’t bad as the female lead, but she also isn’t much of a standout.  Ernie Hudson, Daniel Stern, and Hector Elizondo are solid crew members while Meg Foster (and her always creepy stone cold eyes) plays the creepy leader of the corporation.  Richard Crenna is of course the wise and cynical doctor (which doesn’t generally survive).

leviathan monster ending

Too bad “Smile, Motherf*!@er” never became one of the great lines of the ’80s…

The creature is…different.  Up close it is somewhat interesting with human legs and body parts protruding from it, but the look of the movie in general feels lifted directly from Alien in some scenes.  The challenge of shooting underwater is always admirable, but the movie is far less technical than The Abyss.

Leviathan is no great cinematic feat, but it feels like it is a bit better than some of the horror films from the same period simply because it looks like it has a budget.  The ending’s sacrifice of Hudson is pretty weak, and the fact that blowing up the monster seemingly would just compound the problem is also an issue (since it function independently)…but a movie where the lead actor punches out a woman at the end and you’re happy about it is something.  Maybe, with the lack of imagination coming from Hollywood, we’ll see a Leviathan 2 someday where the monster manifests itself after consuming all of the creatures of the ocean…one can dream.

Related Links:

The Abyss (1989)

DeepStar Six (1989)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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