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Leviathan [monster movie]

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Leviathan (1989) starring Peter Weller, Ernie Hudson, Hector Elizondo, Richard Crenna
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Leviathan (1989) starring Peter Weller, Ernie Hudson, Hector Elizondo, Richard Crenna

In Leviathan, A group of deep-sea miners discover a sunken Russian submarine. It contains a genetics lab, which apparently had created a monster. It slips onto their own ship and they must try to destroy it as it picks them off, one by one. Often described as “Alien in the ocean,” it captures much of the suspense of the space thriller.


It should be stated at the outset that yes, Leviathan is a rip-off of Alien. But, it’s frankly an enjoyable rip-off of Alien, unlike Deep Space others. The film takes time to introduce the audience to the cast members, so we actually care about them. Before the monster starts picking them off one by one …

There are several positives about Leviathan

  • The acting’s very good. Nobody’s just going through the motions. Although the “evil corporate executive” takes the icy stare routine too far.
  • The sets are gorgeous. It’s exactly what you would think an underwater facility would look like.
  • The pacing’s very good. Once the monster starts “eating” the various crew members, the pace is fast. But with time left for the characters to mourn, and react.

Questions/comments about Leviathan:

  • You don’t drink the vodka … the vodka drinks you.
  • Leviathan is rated ‘R’. I enjoyed the TV broadcast, which doubtless cut out a lot of the bad language and some of the ‘grossness’ of the monster. Consider yourself warned.
  • Why did the crew of the Russian ship Leviathan drink the mutagenic vodka? Because they were unwilling guinea pigs. They didn’t know that the vodka was going to mutate them. Frankly, it’s doubtful that anyone on the Russian ship knew. They were all expendable. Lovely people,, the U.S.S.R.

Cast of characters

  • Peter Weller (Robocop) as Steven Beck. Captain of the undeerwater mining expedition, main protagonist.
  • Richard Crenna (Our Miss Brooks, Marooned) as Dr. Glen ‘Doc’ Thompson. The physician who tries, and fails, to save Sixpack and Bow. He also helps Beck set a trap for the creature with blood plasma.
  • Amanda Pays as Elizabeth ‘Willie’ Williams. She’ss one of the protaganists; she discovers that the mega corporation has already declared the entire crew dead. One of the few survivors.
  • Daniel Stern (Home Alone) as Buzz ‘Sixpack’ Parrish. The member of the expedition who goes to the sunken Leviathan Russian ship, and recover documentation from there. As well as a bottle of vodka — which he drinks. Which leads to his death, and his corpse’s mutation.
  • Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters) as Justin Jones One of the heroes of the story, who sadly makes a heroic sacrifice towards the end of the movie.
  • Michael Carmine as Tony ‘DeJesus’ Rodero. He’s attacked by a severed tentacle of the creature, and assimilated. The body count keeps growing …
  • Lisa Eilbacher as Bridget ‘Bow’ Bowman. Crew member who makes the mistake of sharing the compromised vodka with Sixpack. She kills herself to prevent mutating. But, it doesn’t work; her corpse merges with Sixpack’s. And becomes the monster that starts “eating” the rest of the crew.
  • Hector Elizondo (Dear God, Last Man Standing) as G. P. Cobb. The first victim of the merged, mutated creature. He becomes infected, and later infects Doc as well.
  • Meg Foster as Ms. Martin. The ice-cold CEO that promises to rescue the crew. But, she’s lying. She’s already announced their deaths to the world, before they’ve actually died.

Editorial review of Leviathan courtesy of

The expression “an ugly drunk” takes on a whole new meaning when the thirsty crew of an American deep-sea mining station investigates a mysteriously capsized, Russian wreck and brings back some experimental vodka that turns the unlucky imbiber into a plasma-craving fish creature. (Has there ever been a better reason for abstinence?)

Although this “Aliens meets 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea” story doesn’t add anything new to the classic horror and sci-fi formulas that it so obviously borrows from, it’s a fun monster film all the same, with impressive, gnarly effects, a better-than-expected cast (Peter Weller and a scene-stealing Ernie Hudson are the standouts), and an insanely detailed production design by Alien veteran Ron Cobb. Director George P. Cosmatos went on to direct Tombstone. –Andrew Wright

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