My parents let me watch The Abyss when I was too young to fully appreciate it, like most movies. They did not allow me to see Aliens by the same creator (James Cameron) - but that’s alright. This movie, in my opinion, was even better.
If you’ve not seen this 1989 classic give it a whirl. It’s got Cold War tension, crushing underwater pressure, paranoia, love, and everything you need in a feel-good 80′s film. The basic premise is a nuclear sub has mysteriously sunk in the Caribbean and our heroic team must retrieve it before the Soviets do.
I remember watching the film felt particularly painful for me because I have an issue with being underwater. To this day I can’t open my eyes underwater unless goggled; I hate the sense of water being over my head. I have no problem enjoying a shower or a soak in a tub, but deep water? No thank you.
At one point a character is sent to such depths of the ocean that he is forced to use an experimental liquid breathing apparatus to brave it - and at this point I think my parents had to either cover my head with a blanket or huddle me between them because I squirmed. The idea of breathing in liquid - no more air, whatsoever, just viscosity filling your lungs - absolutely terrified me.
For the record liquid breathing is actually real; a patent for a liquid breathing diving setup was filed in 2010, decades after this movie and other experimental attempts to use it for diving. It’s proven more successful in treating premature newborns, because inside the womb while we develop we’re better suited to breathing liquid over air. Ultimately it’s not water that drowns us, but our inability to absorb oxygen from it.
- Still hate the stuff, though.
The truly great thing about this film is what’s at the bottom. As they delve deep into the abyss, diving through mankind’s own paranoia/fear, the entire journey spends probably 80 to 90% of its time as a true horror movie. But at the end, they discover something amazing that flips everything.
And for fear of spoiling it for the uninitiated I’ll end here.