There are times, that I hate Daylight Savings Time. Mainly it is in the spring, where we “jump forward an hour”, as it really tends to throw me off my day. Anyways, I have decided to continue reviewing some of the movies offered on Shout Factory TV that I do not own. I chose today’s movie because it happened to also be featured on the latest season of MST3K, so you know it is most likely to be ridiculously bad. In the late 80’s, there seemed to be a ton of movies that focused on alien life forms at the bottom of the ocean. I mean, we had The Abyss, Leviathan, and Deepstar Six to name a few. So it makes sense that Roger Corman would produce his own movie on the subject. So let’s see what is in store for us with today’s movie, Lords Of The Deep.
The plot: In the near future, large corporations have begun developing undersea habitats in the hope of conquering and developing a new frontier under the oceans. As a submersible vehicle heads towards a habitat, it’s crew discuss how one of the scientists at the habitat has discovered something that has frightened one of the company backers, who wants her dealt with. At the habitat, Claire, the biologist in question, is studying the strange gelatinous mass she discovered when she suddenly decides to touch it with her bare hands, resulting in her receiving strange, psychic visions. Meanwhile, Commander Dobler is talking with a corporate executive about the replacement sub’s failure to arrive yet and the crews’ mixed reactions to being replaced. Later, Dopler makes contact with the sub and is talking with the sub’s commander when a quake occurs and the sub loses contact with the habitat as it’s systems go down. Inside the habitat, Claire had been talking with her lover, Jack O’Neill, when the quake happened and as she heads back to her lab to protect her work, the beaker with the substance falls and breaks, cutting her arm in the process and the substance gets into her bloodstream, resulting in more visions. When the quake subsides, Dopler asks for a status report and after hearing of the damages to the station, has a repairman, Chadwick, head out to make repairs. Dobler then tells the rest of the crew about losing contact with the replacement sub and Fernandez goes out in a sub to see if he can find them. Fernandez locates the sub and tells Dobler that it’s hatches are blown open and there is no sign of the crew and Dobler orders him to come back. Meanwhile, Chadwick continues making repairs when he is attacked by something and he makes his way back into the dive pool. When medical officer Barbara goes to examine him, she discovers that he has mutated into something that resembles the sample that Claire had been studying. Claire and Barbara have the “body” taken to the lab so they can run some tests to try and figure out what has happened to Chadwick, overriding Dobler’s orders to destroy it, and Dobler tries to deal with the crews’ reactions to learning that the replacement crew has vanished. Dobler tells his second in command, Engel, to make sure Fernandez is ok before sending him back out to retrieve the other sub so they can all escape the station, then uses the intercom system to listen in to Claire and Barbara’s discussions on the creature. Later, Claire goes to speak with Dobler about the creature, which has changed shape into a stingray like appearance, and tells Dobler that the creature is intelligent but he is skeptical about it. That night, Claire has some more visions and hears a voice telling her that she has to trust them and she will understand. When another quake hits the station, Dobler checks to make sure everyone is ok and finds them all in the lab staring at the specimen tank, where the creature has changed into a more humanoid/ray appearance. Dobler orders Fernandez to retrieve the other sub so they can all leave but Fernandez finds himself attacked by more of the ray-like creatures and disappears. Back at the station, Dobler orders the computer, Trilby, to terminate the creature while he tries to get the rest of the crew to sign a non-disclosure agreement but Engel is the only one to sign the form, as Claire and the others say the discovery is too big to keep quiet. When they discover the creature has escaped the tank, Dobler has Trilby try and track the creature so they can destroy it, then heads to the control room so he can monitor the situation. As Claire and Seaver search the station, Trilby tells Claire to head to the specimen room, as movement was detected there, but Seaver chooses to go there in her place. When Seaver gets there, the doors shut behind him and he is unable to get them open; while inside the control room, Dobler watches the computer screen as the dot he believes is Claire expires. Meanwhile, Claire continues checking the washroom, where she discovers the creature hiding in the drains, and she begins having the visions again. Trilby orders the crew to head to the specimen room, where they all discover Seaver’s body inside while Claire is missing. Jack and Engel go to try and find Claire while Barbara moves to start an autopsy on Seaver’s body but Dobler tells her not to, as he doesn’t want her to discover the truth on how he died, and says they need to find Claire. Meanwhile, Jack finds Claire and the two lovers embrace before he tells her about Seaver’s death. Claire tells him that the creatures have established a colony on the ocean floor and she has to go there and asks for his help, with Jack agreeing so long as she comes back. Claire leaves, and Jack fakes being attacked by the creature to cause a distraction for her to leave unnoticed. Jack is carried to his room and Barbara watches over him, knowing he was faking, and once they are alone, she asks what is going on. Jack tells her to examine Seaver’s body, as they have to know what happened to him, then meet him in the computer annex, as he is going to try and unlock a secret file that he and Claire had discovered earlier. The two go their separate ways but Dobler, back in the control room, notices their movement on the monitor and gets suspicious. Meanwhile, Claire makes her way in the sub, escorted by the creatures that had attacked Fernandez, and discovers the alien colony, where she is shocked to find Chadwick is there and still alive. Chadwick explains that the aliens are all one being and are there to teach them balance but warns that a massive quake is about to occur which will destroy the lab, and Claire has to go back and get everyone out of there. Back at the station, Barbara discovers that Seaver died of asphyxiation and that Dobler had ordered the room to be sealed and the oxygen from the room removed, only to have Dobler to do the same thing to her. Meanwhile, Jack discovers the truth about what is going on there only to have Dobler confront him and as they struggle, Dobler knocks Jack out. Dobler then tells Engel to go out and locate Claire and Engel reluctantly does so but ends up being attacked by the creatures. Dobler then contacts the executive, who chastises Dobler for his actions and tells him that he is being replaced. Claire arrives back at the station and tells Dobler about the colony and how the quake will destroy the lab and they have to escape. Claire goes to look for the others, finding Barbara’s dead body and and injured Jack but as she tries to help Jack back to the sub, Dobler has the corridor sealed and begins removing the air. Jack manages to knock the cover off the air duct and goes to shut down Trilby but Claire passes out due to lack of oxygen and is saved by the creature. As the quake hits the lab, Jack and Claire reunite and make their way to the sub, but Dobler tries to stop them. Jack and Dobler struggle, with Dobler getting the upper hand over the injured Jack, but Claire helps Jack and they manage to escape, leaving Dobler to die in the lab. As they make their way back to the colony, they experience a vision that explains what happened to the alien’s planet and how it came to it’s end. The voice then tells about how they traveled to Earth, whose habitat was similar to theirs, and as they saw humans going down the same path they did, they said they want to help the humans avoid making the same mistake. Claire and Jack arrive at the colony and Jack is surprised to see not just Chadwick, but Fernandez, Engel, and the replacement crew their as well.
Ok, this wasn’t the greatest movie ever but it actually wasn’t that bad of a movie. The acting was fairly decent, with Priscilla Barnes doing a good job as Claire, while Bradford Dillman was equally good as Dobler. I also liked Mey Rayne (Barbara) but the rest of the cast really felt too wooden, especially Daryl Haney (Jack). As far as the plot goes, it really didn’t feel all that original. I mean, yes there were a lot of aspects that made it seem like nothing more than a ripoff of The Abyss, but then you throw in the whole social commentary about humanity destroying the world by over-exploiting the planet’s resources, which has also been done plenty of times before this movie came out. Adding those two aspects together did not exactly make a unique story telling experience. The special effects in the movie were honestly a mix of being good and bad. I did like the aliens design and at times they were done very well. However, some of the camera work felt extremely shaky at times which didn’t help with the movie any. All in all, it’s a decent time killer of a sci-fi movie but it is not one that will be especially memorable.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5