The Deep is an underwater thriller from Peter Benchley a man who knows a thing or two about deadly sea life seeing as he also wrote Jaws. Although not as famous as Spielberg’s seminal horror movie The Deep, which Benchley adapted from his best-selling novel, offers up a heady blend of action, intrigue, black magic and killer eels making it more than worth a watch.
Opening with one of the many spectacular under water scenes where stars Nick Nolte (48 Hrs.) and Jacqueline Bisset (Murder on the Orient Express) search for sunken treasure amidst the wreck of a WWII freighter off the shores of Bermuda, we watch as the pair excitedly discover an ancient medallion and a small strange vial.
Enthused by their discovery the duo decide to dive again and see what they can uncover but before they get the chance they are accosted by a well-dressed Hattian named Cloche (Roots star Louis Gossett Jr.) who seems insistent on purchasing the unidentifiable tiny bottle from them.
Politely refusing him they soon discover that Cloche is not a man to be messed with when they are kidnapped by the powerful drug dealer’s gang barely escaping his clutches because the bottle is no longer in their possession.
Frightened and confused they deciding to seek the advice of famed treasure hunter Romer Treece (Robert Shaw who also played Quint in Jaws) who informs them the bottle contains morphine and is one of the tens of thousands which should still be aboard the wrecked ship they found along with a bounty of lost booty.
With Cloche keeping a close eye and Romer’s true intentions unclear the lovers are plunged into a plot full of twists and turns in a search for the drugs and the treasure on land and under water all the while desperately trying to stay out of danger but sadly failing.
Featuring some epic stunts and action this tightly scripted thriller frequently throws the unfortunate pair in peril and along the way Nolte and Bisset are beset by obstacles from being run off the road, violently attacked and forced to take part in a voodoo ritual. This last violation takes place while Nolte is out diving making for a disturbing and sinister scene as Bisset is held down and her naked body painted with blood by mask wearing gang members working for Cloche.
The sea is equally full of menace in The Deep with giant man eating Moray eels, shark attacks and underwater fights all wonderfully well filmed by Bullitt and Krull director Peter Yates. In fact the film really comes alive in these deep sea scenes which are beautifully shot and impressively realised especially the climax where Nolte and Shaw face their foes with a literal ticking clock counting down to an explosive ending.
101 Films UK Blu-ray debut of The Deep is drenched in extras including a new commentary with film critic Kevin Lyons, a Making of feature, select scenes from the 3 hour Special Edition, a new interview with the underwater art director Terry Ackland-Snow and in-pack, a special bonus Cinema Retro mini-magazine.
If you are a fan of exotically situated thrillers and water based battles then The Deep is the film for you. And while it is no match for Benchley’s most famous work it most definitely wets any audience’s appetite enough to keep them enthralled.