Film Review of “The Abyss: Special Edition” (1989)


© James Pyles – DVD cover for the 1989 film “The Abyss”

I hadn’t intended to watch a film on Sunday evening, but saw a DVD of the 1989 film The Abyss and said, “why not?”

Actually, this is the special edition, so it’s expanded quite a bit from what folks saw in the original theatrical production.

The movie opens aboard the USS Montana, an Ohio-class U.S. Navy sub. The sub encounters some strange light apparition near the Cayman Trough and, caught in its wake, is dragged across a rock formation, fatally damaging the sub.

With Soviet ships closing in to salvage the nuclear submarine, the Navy commandeers a private, underwater drilling platform operating near the Trough that’s led by Foreman Bud Brigman (Ed Harris) and crewed by a bunch of roughneck oil drillers.

Brigman’s estranged wife Lindsey (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), who designed the drilling rig, accompanies a group of Navy SEALs commanded by Lieutenant Hiram Coffey (Michael Biehn) down to the rig just before a hurricane hits, in an attempt to reach the Montana and search for survivors.

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sky and water

© Sue Vincent

Darya stood on the edge of Stanley Peninsula facing west toward Long Island. It was all part of the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge and late on a Thursday afternoon in February, there was no one else in sight. Silently, she watched the Sun through a heavily cloud-dappled sky as it sank toward the horizon. The waters of Willapa Bay were calm belying the fact that the wild Pacific Ocean was less than a mile away.

For the past five years, she had been gathering tiny shards of lost memories like flowers, struggling to create the bouquet of her childhood. Ever since she was six years old, she had lived with her brother Cody and her parents Hamid and Esther Shah in their comfortable upper-middle class home in Orange County, California. But Hamid and Esther weren’t her parents and Cody wasn’t her brother.

She had been rescued by presumably from drowning in the surf near Huntington State Beach by Cody when she was six and he was ten. Darya couldn’t speak and had trouble breathing at first. No one knew the problem was that she had rarely used her lungs before and her language didn’t at all resemble English.

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