38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Coming in the late 1980s with all the momentum sprung from the "Alien" original and first repeat, "Leviathan" sought to take the alien model underwater, where a group of trash collectors fights on-board monsters with saws and flamethrowers.
The producers of this film knew a good model when they found it and obviously allowed the audience to laugh at their copycat ways by creating aliens that alternately look like tongues with teeth and moving intestines. There's also a paean to the real "Alien" near the end that Peter Weller does away with by squishing it's head in an elevator shaft.
And, in the final scene, you won't believe how hokey and stupid this kind of movie could be just a few years before the advent on high tech and high gloss computerization became de riguer in this type of thing. It's worth it to sit through the whole thing just to see that unbelievably dumb final scene.
Weller "starred" in this vehicle two years after his biggest hit, 1987's "RoboCop". This didn't do much for his reputation even though the cast included some great eye candy in Amanda Pays and the steely blue eyes of Meg Foster. A solid supporting cast headed by the great Richard Crenna, Ernie Hudson and Hector Elizondo offer a high level of acting credibility.
Still, they can't make sense of this mishmash which, oddly and fantastically, still works as horror. Leonard Maltin says to, "Skip it" on this one but I'd disagree. I think there's enough humor, whether intentional or unintentional, eye candy, schlock horror and fine acting to give you your money's worth. It didn't work as a big release in the theater but it's pretty good entertainment on a Tuesday night on your home system.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2006
Plot synapsis: Underwater mining rig, day 87 of a 90 day tour, goof-off sexist jerk wanders off and finds a sunken Russian freighter.
The cast consists of Peter Weller as the geologist boss, Richard Crenna as the semi-doctor and crewed by Ernie Hudson (who gets some of the best lines and steals his scenes), Amanda Pays (and her annoyingly fake accent) Daniel Stern, Michael Carmine, an adorable Lisa Eilbacher, Meg Foster (what IS it about her eyes? And why was she trying so hard to do a crappy acting job?), and the wonderful Hector Elizondo.
After ALIEN did the haunted house in space so successfully there were a lot of immitators. Then we had a few underwater adventures which did fairly well in a vauge sort of way. Think of this as a cheap way of combining both. Except for Pays and Foster, we have a group of really fine actors working in an underwater mining facility.
Personal note: Seriously, if this had been real and I was Pays' charactor I would have severly hurt the Stern character. His behavior was borish to the point of distracting from the movie and something no decent boss would have allowed.
Anyway, the movie cover said the magic words: GENETIC MUTATION! I was hooked, as always. Pays and Stern are outside doing their job when Stern wanders off (why?) and falls off a cliff. Movie goers probably cheered at that point. Pays goes after him, wandering through fakey looking sea worms and finds the Russian freighter. I liked the scary fish that pops up in Pays' face. Stern shows up with a huge safe, carrying it like it weighs 20 pounds instead of several hundred and they head back.
The safe contains a lot of 'personal effects' from deceased crewmembers which should have triggered a lot more concern than it did. Sterns character slips out a flask of vodka and hides it. Eilbacher's character sees him do it, and later talks him into sharing it with her. Because of the extreme danger of the job, alcohol is not permitted there.
Eventually the Crenna figures out the Russians were doing GENETIC EXPERIMENTATION (I love this stuff) on it's own crew by doctoring their vodka. By the time Crenna comes up with that of course, Stern and Eilbacher are already infected. It hits Stern first, and hardest, then things begin getting out of control.
Up to this point the movie does quite well. It's best effects were, unfortunately, the ones you don't see, using shadow and noise. As good as the cast mostly was, the sets, the production, etc., the special effects were really substandard. Or to put it another way, they were just cheesy and bad, a jarring note to an otherwise interesting movie.
There was not a lot of new material here, nothing terribly original, but it is still not bad. Flawed by it's special effects, surely, but some good acting and a decent script saves it from being a B movie.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2001
Leviathan isn't nearly as good as the movie it so obviously tries to be. Though it offers better creature effects and set-designs than ALIEN, as well as a larger cast, and an equally good score, that doesn't justify its total lack of imagination. If you're a fan of the horror genere, you'll likely enjoy this movie. Be warned however. This movie is basically Alien set underwater. So if you're looking for something fresh, look elsewhere, because you'll probably see where this movie is headed less than fifteen minutes into it. Though Leviathan lacks in the plot department, it still exceeds the quality of most monster movies released in the theaters, which is why I recommend it. But to enjoy this movie fully, you should really watch it on DVD. Leviathan was shot in a 2.35:1 widescreen format. And when a movie is shot with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, it means you'll only be seeing roughly half the image when you're watching it on t.v. or VHS, which are best to be avoided if you want to see this movie the way it was meant to be seen.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Since the first two Alien films, there have been countless big budget and low budget thrillers that take the formula of the previously mentioned films and make it so contrived that there is hardly a shred of originality left in the idea. Leviathan is close to being an example of this, and while it's hardly original in it's plot, the cast, effects, and set designs help it stand above other derivative drivel like Deep Star Six and other Alien rip off's to come out of the 80's. Peter Weller, Ernie Hudson, the late Richard Crenna, and Daniel Stern are among the crew members of a salvage crew who find a submerged Russian ship. After Stern's character treats himself to some vodka found on board, he is transmutated into a slimy and hungry creature that is soon picking the crew off one by one. Not original in the least, but it has enough going for it to keep it from going overboard into complete absurdity.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Alien underwater. That's really all that needs to be said about 1989's Leviathan. Hell. Some DVDs even throw that very quote right on the cover! The producers even got Jerry Goldsmith (Alien) providing the orchestral score and Stan Winston (Aliens) doing the creature effects.
If you've seen Alien or John Carpenter's The Thing you've seen Leviathan. Seriously, tell me if any of these things ring a bell:
A blue collar crew about to return home after a long job.
A monster than infests hosts and incorporates them into its biology
A doctor who has a magic conversation with his computer which tells him how dangerous the lifeform is.
A heartless corporation that is willing to let an entire crew die.
Metal corridors full of pipes and swinging chains
Flamethrowers are immediately available as a weapon of choice for crewmembers.
If you've seen Alien or The Thing you know this movie. I don't want to be to hard on the film, because honestly, as far as knock offs go it's probably one of the better ones.
Aside from Peter Weller, Richard Crenna, and Ernie Hudson most of the cast and the characters they portray are uninteresting horror clichés. There aren't any memorable character moments, or even death scenes for these people and what I think is an attempt at romantic chemistry between Weller and Amanda Pays completely misses the mark.
The creature itself is what happens when The Thing is mashed together with a deep sea fish. It consumes and absorbs people into its body via an infection which can be transmitted in a variety of ways. Several of these are fairly inconsistent. First off, it was a Russian ailment put in Vodka. Next it can leap out and straight up absorb you into a monstrous form within -what the film implies to be- a matter of minutes, if not seconds. Then finally it can transmit simply by scratching/grabbing a person. This last one makes the least sense as the heroes are probably grabbed by this thing multiple times without becoming infected. Maybe Peter Weller's still got RoboCop's body under his t-shirt- I don't know! I also don't understand how, when disposing of the first mutant, that it can be killed by ejecting it into the sea. The film establishes that the mutation is a deep sea species (and, SPOILER: later on one has no problem what so ever being out in the ocean).
I could ignore lots of this if the movie featured a great monster design and effects, but it doesn't. Stan Winston (Terminator, Aliens, Jurassic Park) is a miracle man in the realm of practical monster design and effects, but the mutant in Leviathan simply isn't scary! It really does just come across a poor man's Thing with a fish head. Now, in Stan's defense this may have more to do with poor editing and cinematography that the mutant looks so rubbery and fake, because looking at the animatronic and suit the thing isn't worse than other Winston projects. Even then I'd still say it's one of his team's weakest creature designs.
Far and away the best component of Leviathan is Jerry Goldsmith's score. Goldsmith's score is moody and helps establish the eerie atmosphere the film so desperately wishes it could achieve. If everything lived up to this the movie would probably be a 4/5, Alien rip off and all!
So, in conclusion: while Leviathan certainly isn't a good movie I did enjoy watching it. If you're interested in seeing a decent knock off of Alien or The Thing it's a pretty solid choice. Leviathan is goofy, and not particularly scary, but if you're someone who knows all the horror tropes you'll undoubtedly have a fun time with it.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 1999
Somewhere in this Aliens meets 20000 Leagues Under the Sea mismatch is an interesting movie waiting to get out. However, it's not the special effects monster that wreaks havoc in the second half of the film. Rather, it's seen in the first 30 minutes of the film, where a mixed gender crew of undersea miner's attempts to work together and keep out of each others hair in the last 3 days of a long shift at sea. Labor problems, malingering, sexual tension, lots of stuff for an interesting, if offbeat, sci-fi film.
Instead, just as we start to get interested in the characters and their strange, if claustrophobic world, along comes Nessie, in the form of infected vodka lifted from a sunken Russian ship that works some unpleasant effects on members of the crew. There's no need to describe the resulting carnage, as we've seen it all too many times in far better films.
Leviathan is better than it ought to be thanks to a first class cast and some better than average make-up and special effects work. Definitely a B film with some bite, and best relegated to the second or third video in a Saturday nite sci-fi blitz.
3 out of 5 stars for a strong start and good production values
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2005
Shack 7 is an underwater base manned by 8 men and a woman who have been submerged on a mining mission for 2 whole months .With barely a day or so remaining of their mission they discover a sunken Russian naval vessel ,Leviathan .Searching the ship's log they find its whole crew died of a mysterious disease before ithe ship was scuppered by the crew .They discover vodka among the crew's affects and the company of Shack 7 look forward to a party until their leader Breck (Peter Weller ) sticking to the rule book ,confiscates the alcohol but not before one crew member , Six Pack ( Daniel Stern )manages to pocket a hip flask and organises a private party with Bowman ( Lisa Eilbacher).
Big mistake ! the Russians had been experimenting with genetic mutations and the booze is the medium they used to carry a virus which changes people into monsters .
When Six Pack dies his body changes into something reptilian and before you know it he's alive again ,and the same fate befalls Bowman .The dead are evolving into something else and from here on in its a pitched battle between the remaining crew of Shack 7 and the constantly evolving and mutating monster .The monster is constantly evolving and changing, absorbing the memories of its victims and genetically fusing the faces of the victims with its own body .
Leviathan was compared with other underwater chillers like The Abyss but its true source is Alien with its crew versus monster scenario ,and there is even a monster in the stomach scene .As such there is little new about the picture and it is a rehash of ideas done better elsewhere .
Take it as a well shot and decently acted creature feature however and this is a solid little picture with some decent effects and well worth watching for these alone .Provided you do not set a premium on originality this is enjoyable escapist movie making
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2002
Having a monster movie filmed in a huge underwater mining lab is kinda silly at first, but gets pretty cool after a while. I've seen several Peter Weller movies, and this is his second best sci-fi movie he's done (right next to "RoboCop"). For people who haven't seen this movie yet, it's about a group of
wise-cracking underwater miners (led by Weller) who's being terrorized by a giant human-fishlike creature that was spawned from a genetic experiment gone haywire. The special effects was pretty cool, although they could have done a little more, but it's still an enjoyable movie to watch. Oscar winning composer Jerry Goldsmith (winner of the Best musical Score Oscar for 1976's "The Omen") does an excellect job conducting action & scary music sequences throughout the entire picture.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A group of underwater sea miners (Peter Weller, Richard Crenna, Ernie Hudson, Daniel Stern, Amanda Payes, Michael Carmine, Lisa Eiblacher and Hector Elizonio) discover a Soviet boat wreck and brings back a deadly cargo to their underwater station. A horrifying mutating genetic monster has been unleashed as it is killing some of the crew one by bloody one as some must survive to fight this creature, call for help and escape.
Entertaining 1989 Sci-fi horror monster movie that feels like a cross between Alien and The Thing and was one of the many underwater creature movies of 89 with DeepStar Six, Endless Raft, The Abyss etc. yet this movie is dismissed as an Alien/Thing wannabe in the ocean. The creature effects by Stan Winston and co are quite good i should say and the acting isn't too bad, the film does co-star Meg Foster as well. I saw this in theaters as a kid and really enjoyed it, it does have silly moments but near the end when the full monster is revealed it delivers a nice climax.
This blu-ray from Scream Factory has great PQ and SQ with extras like interviews and trailer.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2014
Leviathan was a bit of a disappointment for the critics compared to some of the high voltage super SciFi hits in the genre during the late 1970s and the mid 1980s. Remember movies like "Alien" (1979), Escape From New York (1981), "The Thing" (1982), "Blade Runner" (1982), and "Aliens" (1986). Some probably considered this a B movie. I am here to say I like it, but I will admit I have a taste for anything in this genre as long as it doesn't try to be outrageously bloodthirsty or fall on it's face with horrible F/X. Leviathan works because they borrowed a little from a couple of other movies, but they twisted it enough to keep you guessing a little. They did a pretty good job with the confined atmosphere in the underwater mining facility and the characterizations with some well known stars as well. At least rent it, I don't think you will be disappointed.
Recommendations: The Abyss,Deep Blue Sea, and Deep Star Six