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The Deep Review

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Discovering a secret way into a sunken wreck, two amateur scuba-divers find themselves threatened by some Bermudan thugs. There is more than treasure at stake, with a stock of morphine ampoules buried with the very same sunken ship. Thus Gail Berke and David Sanders turn to wizened salt Romer Treece for help.

★★★★★

In the wake of Jaws great success, Peter Yates adapted another of author Peter Benchley’s submerged novels. On the surface it looked good: sunken galleons, Caribbean locations, voodoo, treasure, wicked drug runners and a sexy lead couple. There was even the return of Robert Shaw as another booze reddened sea salt if anything even crustier than Quint (but nowhere near as memorable). Just one thing missing — a ruddy great shark. This empty headed thriller relies on little more than good locations, some quality underwater photography and Jacqueline Bisset in a wet t-shirt. Which isn’t all bad.

Actually, for the first hour, it drums up a goodly amount of tension. Happening upon a wreck, and dodging a Jurassic sized electric eel, this sexy couple (Bisset as kept in see-through t-shirts, Nolte shaggy and tanned) think they’ve hit the mother lode. Enter sinister Lou Gosset Jr. who rather than simply follow them to the wreck (where there is also, as is usual for this kind of pulp, a secret drug haul) he kidnaps the couple to retrieve the glass ampoule they’ve brought up from below, just to make sure he checks underneath Bisset’s bikini top. Well, you have to be sure. Later, he intimidates her by dressing as a voodoo skeleton and dragging a bird’s foot across her belly. “I’ve been painted!” she wails.

Even Shaw’s presence, joining the couple to salvage the wreck and make his fortune, fails to revive the film’s fortunes. Yates goes through the motions doggedly, staging underwater fights and plot twists, but is left to pad out such ‘thrills’ with endless yakking about “provenance” (the security required for a legal salvage) and the boys (Bisset is left in the boat) hoovering of the seabed before, finally the bad guy gets his caught between eel and highwater.

A sea thriller in the wake of Jaws but with less shark and less thrills.