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Popcorn Fall

Popcorn Pictures

Reviewing the best (and worst) of horror, sci-fi and fantasy since 2000

  • Andrew Smith

Octopus (2000)

"Terror has never run so deep"


A Russian submarine is destroyed during the Cuban missile crisis and it's cargo of nuclear material sinks to the bottom of the ocean. In the present day, a US submarine is given the task of transporting a terrorist from Bulgaria along with the American agent responsible for bringing him to justice. The submarine travels through a section of ocean notorious for ships being lost. Superstition says it's a sea monster but the crew don't believe in it - until they come across something at the bottom of the sea.


Can you guess what they come across at the bottom of the sea? The clue is in the title of the film. Nu Image presents us with another ‘it does exactly what it says on the cover box’ film in the same vein as Spiders and Shark Attack. It's shameless low grade nonsense from beginning to end complete with Nu Image's usual array of paper-thin characters, a script which defies physics and logic, special effects which are not so special and a general feeling of everything being a pointless waste of money and resources.

You won't actually see the octopus until the mid-point in the film. By that time you've been given a lethal concoction of practically every single submarine thriller, political thriller and ocean-bound horror film ever made including The Hunt For Red October and Deep Rising. There's a lot going on in this film as the story gives us way too many threads to follow. Why does the submarine have to travel through these Cuban waters when it's coming from Bulgaria? Wouldn't it be easier to fly the terrorist out of Bulgaria? Not only do the submarine crew have to deal with the octopus but the ever-present threat of the terrorist's friends who have hijacked an ocean liner and are following the submarine on the surface. Quite how they manage to track a state-of-the-art submarine underwater in a cruise ship is never explained, nor will I attempt to try.

Needless to say this sub-plot gives the film the unnecessary secondary antagonists it needs, human ones at that, and the octopus becomes a secondary threat. You see they're cheaper to include in a film and most of these low budget creature feature films feature human villains. The supposed heroes of the film spend most of their time fighting the terrorists and vice versa because it's easier to show guys punching each other and firing guns than it is to animate a CGI octopus. Octopus seems to think that by adding together various plot elements from the previously mentioned films, you can actually get a new film. It doesn't work in the slightest. The film is extremely boring throughout, even during the action scenes and alleged dramatic moments.

The octopus is a cheap CGI creation which shows just how limited CGI can be in the wrong hands - just watch some of the really flawed shots of it attacking a cruise ship. Octopus also plays with the laws of physics too as the beast has an uncanny ability to send its tentacles spiralling through the corridors of the submarine and yet the water level inside is ridiculously low. If the octopus can get its tentacles through a hole in the hull, then why isn't the submarine completely flooded? Why hasn't its hull buckled under the pressure? For the amount of screen time the octopus is actually around, they should have called this Crimson Tide 2 or something more appropriate. At least it is used sparingly which, in some cases, can help the film by increasing the stakes and keep you in suspense as you wait for its next appearance. That's the only save grace here.

Unfortunately, since the only reason anyone will pick up Octopus is to see a giant octopus doing what a giant octopus does in films and then be cheated from that, then hardly showing it is a cardinal sin. This is especially the case when there's nothing in the film to keep us entertained whilst we're waiting for it to re-appear. As I've already said, the characters are paper-thin and the script is terrible. The acting is pretty bland across the board but who can blame them when the script is this one-note? Jay Harrington has gone on to bigger and better things in Desperate Housewives but he's rather dull in the lead role. The only other noticeable actor here is Ricco Ross, who played Pvt. Frost in Aliens. He shows a bit of potential in the solid back-up role and you'll wish he was given more to do. Although being the only black actor on the pay roll, it is obvious what is going to happen to him.


Final Verdict

Octopus squeezed the life of me from the start and wouldn't give it back. I demand compensation for wasting 100 minutes of my life watching this dreck. One of Nu Image's first CGI monster flicks and they certainly haven't gotten any better over the years!



Director(s): John Eyres

Writer(s): Boaz Davidson (story), Michael D. Weiss (screenplay)

Actor(s): Jay Harrington, Ravil Isyanov, David Beecroft, Ricco Ross, Jeff Nuttall, George Stanchev, Martin McDougall

Duration: 100 mins


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