Home > Leviathan (1989): A Review

Leviathan (1989): A Review


A Review From The Depths Below

Similarly to several other aquatic horror films, the sci-fi film, Leviathan (1989) directed by George Cosmatos, follows an underwater crew that disturbs a long time sleeping sea monster that wreaks havoc on the entire crew. In Leviathan, this underwater crew of geologists encounter a highly infectious DNA disease that transforms anyone in contact with it into a hideous and horrendous sea monster. The title of the film is one of the most important aspects of the film as it represents the ship that the geologists swim aboard and where they find the infectious disease. While this film is not one of the most influential aquatic horror films released, it does make for a fun and thrilling watch for any horror fan. While the characters fulfill several racial and sexual stereotypes in the horror genre and lack any real depth, they are a fun bunch that offers comedic relief during the more distressing parts of the film. 

The story follows the geologist Steven Beck who is hired by a large corporation, Tri-Oceanic Corp, to supervise an undersea mining operation for half a year. Steven’s role in this process is to ensure safety and no environmental disaster while this mining occurs underwater. While the crew and Steven are working on the mining operation, they discover the underwater wreckage of a Soviet ship, the Leviathan. While exploring the ship wreck, the crew uncover a safe from within the ship that contains a strange account from deaths that occurred on the ship during the time it sailed along with a flask of vodka. Unfortunately for the crew, one of the members shares the flask with another member and starts feeling sick the next day. Upon inspection, the members who consumed the vodka have large visible lesions all over their backs. The infection slowly starts spreading to the rest of the crew with their corpses mutating and growing into unidentifiable monsters. Sadly, the extraction time for the crew is over 12 hours, will the crew survive? To find out, the film is available for rent on Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV.


While the film Leviathan is an aquatic horror film, it is similar to several sci-fi horror films such as Alien (1979) and The Thing (1982). With heavy inspiration from these films, Leviathan incorporates many aspects and themes seen throughout various early sci-fi horror films, such as innovative makeup and prosthetics. However, the interesting aspect of Leviathan is that it takes place underwater, quite new for the concept at the time of release. Unfortunately, not even the makeup and prosthetics of the film could make up for the surface value of the characters and not much more than stereotypes. While none of the actors do extremely terrible, none seem to commit their all to the story, leaving the performances mediocre. 

Ultimately, the film Leviathan does not have the same impact of classic aquatic and sci-fi horror films of its time, it is definitely worth watching for those wanting an easy, thrilling horror. Almost more relevant than at its time of release, the idea of a deadly infectious disease spreading around, mutating individuals into something monstrous can highlight the fears surrounding the COVID 19 pandemic that is still ongoing in several locations around the world. Overall, Leviathan is worth adding to the collection of aquatic horror films.


Leviathan (1989) Official Trailer

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