The Rift (1989)

Rating: **
Alternate Title: Endless Descent
Review Date: 1/21/17
Music: Joel Goldsmith
Cast: Jack Scalia, Ray Wise, R. Lee Ermey

A low budget underwater horror film in the vein of "Leviathan" and "DeepStar Six." An experimental submarine goes missing and the sub's designer, Wick Hayes (buff Jack Scalia), is assigned to investigate. Much to everyone's surprise, the military steps in and Captain Phillips (R. Lee Ermey) takes command of the operation, along with a certain bio-genetic scientist who happens to be Wick's ex-girlfriend. The rescue submarine detects a signal from the missing crew in a deep underwater cave and encounters some horrible mutated plants and animals along the way. Earth will be doomed if the creatures make it to the surface, so the crew has to destroy them all.

It's a minimally entertaining formulaic monster romp, with cheap sets, embarrassing special effects, disposable characters, and pathetic looking creatures. The acting is actually half-way decent, and R. Lee Ermey gives a memorable performance as the hard-ass captain. Ray Wise gives a solid performance until the very end when his personality flips for no particularly good reason. It's like "ooh, now it's time for the supporting character to act like a psychotic villain!" This has the unfortunate side effect of making him a laughable caricature instead of a menacing threat. The only thing worse than the pitiful creature effects is the atrociously awful dialog. It amazes me that someone got paid to write this crap. Still, I've seen far worse. Just don't go out of your way to watch this one.