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Review The Rift a.k.a. Endless Descent (1990): A low budget version of Leviathan

genre: science fiction, action, adventure, horror

The Rift is intended as a low budget version of Leviathan, which itself was a clone of Alien. Naturally the story is different enough but the basic concept is the same. In hindsight I even dare to say that The Rift even could function as a prequel to Leviathan.

But before you get all excited there are some caveats. The Rift certainly manages to do some impressive things considering it's low budget. However it had to deliver on many other elements that make a good film. I wouldn't say the cast is bad. R. Lee Ermey and Jack Scalia certainly do a good job with the questionable material. However the American actors don't fit that well next to the Spanish ones. Almost like they both were part of different films and then somehow were forced to join. It also sounds like that all the voices of the Spanish cast were dubbed. Not that it matters that much since they hardly speak anyway. The whole cast do make one big mistake. And that is to take the film seriously. One could argue that is what makes it so much fun. I definitely think so. Only I did start to wonder why R. Lee Ermey got involved in the first place. He easily is one of the best elements in the film. But he deserves better. 

One other flaw is that it mimics or copies from other underwater films that had been made in 1989. Normally that is not such a bad thing if it weren't for the fact that these elements point out how much better the originals were. For example the secret saboteur plot line from Alien and The Abyss is done quite poorly. Actually it's preposterous and completely unnecessary as it is used to explain events that would have been more effective had they been left unexplained. I am sure that they thought it would create some tension and suspense. However the way this is played out comes across as comical. 

The horror elements were pretty good as most of them had good buildup of tension and momentum. Unfortunately there is not enough of them. The low budget clearly was in the way of creating more spectacle. In the end isn't this was most fans want to see in the first place?

Now I am not going to lie. I myself wanted to watch this with an open mind. But for some reason the film failed to hold my attention enough. But that was more a case of me not being in the mood or rather not being the right state of mind. Soon after I was and immediately increased my viewing experience tenfold. 

So in conclusion. This film is worth it if you give it a chance. Yes, it is bad. No question. But the enjoyable kind. 


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