Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water. For reasons only known to coke-addled
Hollywood execs, underwater monster movies became a craze in the late 80s. “It’s like JAWS but totally underwater,” I can hear them saying. Studios flooded (ah, boo yourself) the market and within the first six months of 1989 audiences got big-budget titles like THE ABYSS, DEEPSTAR SIX and LEVIATHAN. That’s enough to give you a bad case of the bends. The indies tried to stay afloat and gave us titles such as THE EVIL BELOW and LORDS OF THE DEEP (both 1989 as well). Naturally, an enterprising exploiter like Juan Piquer Simon was more than happy to sail in their wake and gave us ENDLESS DESCENT (aka THE RIFT) the following year.
E.D. (hey, that don’t sound right) opens with sub designer Wick Hayes (Jack Scalia, in Kip Winger hair) being told by Steensland (Edmund Purdom, in a one-scene role) that Siren-1, his pet project the Government took out of his hands, has gone missing 35,000ft under the sea. They ask him to help a NATO rescue team, but Wick wants none of it until he is told that “Mark Massey was on board.” Damn, we all know how important Mark Massey is, right? So he reluctantly agrees to join the team.
|"This sub's only seventeeeeeen!"|
Leading this rescue operation on Siren-2 is Capt. Phillips (R. Lee Ermey, radically cast against type as a gruff military guy). Other crew members includes some Swedish divers with French accents, a Trapper John look-a-like M.D., a cook (yes, they have a mess hall), token black guy “Skeets” (who says “Aw, man” or “Damn” every other line), computer geek Robbins (Ray Wise) and – wouldn’t you know it – Wick’s soon to be ex-wife Nina (Deborah Adair). Heading to Siren-1’s last known location, the crew gets a SOS signal and dives to the region. Once there they discover unheard of plant growth in the area (“I could open a sushi bar and retire a millionaire,” chimes the cook). Sven goes diving (in the film’s only underwater scene; more on that later) and is killed by something. The sub is then attacked by some big ass octopus (I think that is what it was), which Wick is smart enough to shock off the damaged vessel before he lands it on shelf.
|Ray Wise reacts to the script.|