Released in 1990, The Rift is one of the several movies set underwater and released just a year after The Abyss made a big splash. The other movies are Leviathan, The Evil Below, DeepStar Six and Lords of the Deep all released in 1989. They all take place on a submarine or a mining rig deep underwater and feature some sort of creature or supernatural element. And they are all pretty derivative so if you’re looking for something original or thrilling better stick to the classics. The Rift was produced by Francesca DeLaurentiis, Dino’s daughter after he set off to produce Leviathan. This is a cute and unassuming B movie starring R. Lee Ermey and Jack Scalia. With decent amounts of gore and practical effects, it looks charmingly outdated. After the first few scenes, you can practically map out the rest of it.
I watch these predictable and cliched movies from the eighties and nineties to relax and have few laughs. I simply can’t help myself and as soon as I see that the movie is set underwater I also immediately know it’s a closed environment movie and when you add to that the opportunity to see some cheesy and not so cheesy practical effects or creatures, you son of a bitch, I’m in. I mean, The Rift opens with two G-Men knocking on our hero’s door while his blissfully sleeping over his hangover. Next to his bed are empty bottles, snacks and packs of cigarettes. They simply open the door and pour some gin over his head to wake him up. Now we see that he’s sporting a glorious mullet and the first thing he does after waking up is to light up a cigarette. What more to want from a movie?
After an experimental submarine called Siren I goes missing, Contec corporation decides to get together an experienced crew of seamen and send them to find out what happened. They will be going in a new submarine aptly named Siren II with only a few particulars about the incident provided by Contec. Among them is the fact that they lost the subs signal near the infamous Dannekin rift…
Now, I know I trashed the movie pretty hard but it does have some redeeming qualities. The story develops pretty naturally making a few twists and turns along the way at just the right times to keep you engaged. They took full advantage of the Alien franchise and you’ll recognize many of the scenes as the story unfolds. R. Lee Ermey, best known as the drill instructor from Full Metal Jacket was a force of nature, as per usual. Too bad they scrapped the original idea of setting the movie in space, that would be a hoot with him. In the end, The Rift is a fun and cheesy underwater adventure movie with an expected grand finale. You’ll forget all about it after you’ve seen it but it should keep your attention for eighty minutes. If you’re looking for similar but newer movies like The Rift I recommend you check out The Sea Fever.
Director: Juan Piquer Simón
Writers: Juan Piquer Simón, Mark Klein, David Coleman, Colin Wilson
Cast: Jack Scalia, R. Lee Ermey, Ray Wise, Deborah Adair, John Toles-Bey, Ely Pouget, Tony Isbert, Frank Braña
Fun Facts: Jack Scalia was immediately cast in the lead after he met and spoke to Dino De Laurentiis in his office.