Somewhere deep in the jungle a chemical corporation dumps tons of toxic waste in a still active volcano. Two environmentalists try to expose these illegal ways of getting rid of hugely dangerous waste, but they get caught by the vigilantes working for the company. One of them, the super-hot Maria Giulia Cavalli, manages to escape and she is saved by a snake farmer who lives alone in the jungle. Together they try to bring down the company, but it’s too late. Years of chemical poisoning have spawned a deadly monster that is set out to exact revenge on the humans that have unknowingly brought him to life.
It is tough to review films when there is something about it that could be considered legendary or significant about it. In the case of “Alien from the Deep”, it’s the films’ director Antonio Margheriti. Now his track record isn’t exactly stellar, though he was a very prolific Italian director, probably most well known for his 1980 Vietnam vets with a cannibalistic virus film “Cannibal Apocalypse” starring John Saxon. “Alien from the Deep” isn’t a complete waste of time nor is it very pleasant. Since I began reviewing films, it has become much more noticeable to me there are more missed opportunities in film than maybe any other medium. This isn’t always the fault of the filmmaker. It could be budget constraints, studio or producer interference, etc. Hell, even cultural misunderstanding can have an effect. In this case it was mostly budget, though I have noticed watching English language films by international directors, the dialogue tends to get, I guess awkward(?), plays a role too.
The film begins with Jane (Maria Giulia Cavalli) and Lee (Robert Marius) who are representing Greenpeace and trying to make their way to an island where they intend on investigating the chemical plant run by E-Chem. They discover (as well as catch it on tape) that they are dumping toxic waste into an active volcano. Their presence is soon discovered by Colonel Kovacks (Charles Napier), the leader of the plant whose sole job is to protect E-Chem’s secrets at any cost. Lee is captured, though he manages to hide the tape before it is discovered. Jane makes her way into the jungle and is saved by snake farmer Bob (Daniel Bosch). After the dust settles, Jane plans on storming back into the plant to save Lee and retrieve the tape. What no one realizes is that some sort of meteor has crashed into the waters near the plant. There is more than just a meteor waiting for them, something deadly is waiting and ready to strike.
The main weakness of “Alien from the Deep” is the acting, or lack of. I mean, they didn’t have really good dialogue to deliver, what they did have was rather embarrassing. At one point, Jane actually introduces herself to a local boy from the island and says, “Me Jane.” The only person who was really nailing it was veteran character actor Charles Napier. He chewed up every scene he appeared in and was easily more menacing than the actual alien from the title. I may be a bit biased, Napier appeared in my favorite film of all time Russ Meyers’ “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls”, so I tend to take notice when that films alumni appear in other projects. He even made some of that horrible dialogue sound good. I wasn’t so sure if I like how the film was divided, the first half was strictly a thriller about the toxic waste and trying to stop E-Chem from destroying the environment with their antics. Once we hit the halfway mark, the shift occurs to the sci-fi element and the alien is on the loose and out to destroy. Surprisingly, as a whole, it works well. It’s a shame that we never get a full glimpse of the creature till the films’ final ten minutes. The creature design was actually pretty awesome, but since this film was shot on a tiny budget, the execution was awful. It was fun however watching the scenes where they destroyed miniature sets. Reminded me of the old “Godzilla” films from my youth.
“Alien from the Deep” isn’t a very good film. At least there was a decent attempt at creating something, even if it really doesn’t work. At the same time, hardcore fans of Italian cinema and/or silly B-movies in general, may want to give this one a try. Even if it is pretty bad, there was still a mild entertainment factor for a while, then the inevitable disappointment sets in.