THE RIFT. Trimark Pictures, 1990. Also released as Endless Descent. Jack Scalia, R. Lee Ermey, Ray Wise, Deborah Adair, John Toles Bey, Ely Pouget, Emilio Linder. Director: Juan Piquer Simón

   Judging from some of the comments that exist online, The Rift (aka Endless Descent) seems to have its fair share of detractors. In the DVD commentary at the end of the movie, one learns that even R. Lee Ermey seems to have a negative feeling toward the movie. To be honest, I think a lot of this scorn is undeserved. True, it’s a low budget feature. That much is obvious. And there are also the unescapable comparisons with much higher end creature features like Alien (1979) and Leviathan (1989).

   But do you know what? For a cheapie made in an old movie studio on the outskirts of Madrid and that was never released in the theaters, The Rift is actually a solid and downright enjoyable action-adventure movie with science fiction and horror themes running throughout. The plot is compelling, the action never lets up, and there special effects really aren’t half-bad. And the music by Joel Goldsmith, who went on to do the music for the television show Stargate, definitely adds to the suspense and the general air of creeping dread.

   Jack Scalia portrays Wick Hayes, an American scientist/engineer tasked with a mission. He’s to assist the U.S. Navy in a rescue and retrieval mission for Siren 1, a submarine he designed. Apparently the vessel has been lost at the bottom of the sea. With a crew lead by Captain Philips (R. Lee Ermey) and the scheming Robbins (Ray Wise), along with his ex-wife, scientist Lt. Nina Crowley (Deborah Adair), the Siren 2 gang embarks upon a daring rescue operation.

   The crew, along with Hayes, will soon discover that what caused the Siren 1’s disappearance wasn’t an accident at all, but rather the result of a grotesquely botched attempt to conduct biological warfare experiments underwater. Cue the monsters, animals and plants alike!