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  • Stefan Riedlinger

Deep Rising - Jerry Goldsmith - Soundtrack Review

Merry Christmas! Jerry Goldsmith’s music for the horror movie „Deep Rising“ is not the soundtrack you would expected to be reviewed for Christmas, but this soundtrack is one of my favorite ones. Therefore, I decided to talk about this today, as a Christmas gift for myself. Next week, I will review a classical Christmas soundtrack with John Williams’ “Home Alone”.

The movie

"Deep Rising" is a 1998 American action horror film directed by Stephen Sommers and starring Treat Williams, Famke Janssen and Anthony Heald. It was distributed by Hollywood Pictures and Cinergi Pictures and released on January 30, 1998. Here is the trailer:

Stephen Sommers directed the movie based on a screen play written by himself. Before that, he directed two movies, mostly for children: “The Adventures of Huck Finn” (1993), based on his own screen play, with a very nice music by Bill Conti, and “Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book” (1994), with a wonderful score by Basil Poledouris.

“Deep Rising” was Sommers first horror movie, and 1999, he directed a new adaption of “The Mummy”, also with a wonderful score by Jerry. If you compare both movies, “The Mummy” is the better one; “Deep Rising” is trash, but very good trash, with some very scary scenes and some grimy jokes. Fans of Goldsmith know that the composer does not like very violent movies; therefore, it is very surprising that he creates such a lovely score for this crappy movie.

The plot is composed around a small group of people, headed by Treat Williams, which has been hired to transport a group of mercenaries, led by Wes Studi, to an undisclosed location in the middle of the ocean. Soon afterwards, Williams's boat collides with a speedboat shaken loose from the Argonautica, a cruise ship. The boat limps onwards to the cruise ship which is revealed to be the mercenaries' target; they intend to rob the ship's vault and its wealthy passengers, before sinking the vessel with torpedoes they have brought along. But soon the people discover that a creature has attacked the ship and killed the passengers. The group is soon also attacked by the creature, especially by the giant tentacles, and one by one are killed. The showdown shows us the giant and ugly creature, created by Rob Bottin.

Critics were mostly negative, and Roger Ebert who suggested the movie should be called “Eat the Titanic” put the movie on his Most Hated Film list, which shows again that this guy has no sense of humor. Of course, the movie is trash and crappy, and I would never spend money to see it on a big screen but on DVD with some friends and a good amount of alcohol, the movie is a lot of fun because it is sooo bad.

The music

Jerry’s music is great, one of his best scores of the 90s, and you have really no idea why he was able to compose such great music for this shitty film. The music, composed for a smaller orchestra, features some kind of electronics which are wonderful integrated in the orchestral part. The main title “Underwater Grave” gives us some haunting feeling with the use of the tuba. “Boarding the Ship” is one of the highlights of the score. Goldsmith uses the percussion in a very interesting way to build up suspense.

The scores features a lot of great action pieces, not only for the showdown in “E Ride” and “Hang On – End Title”, but also in “Let’s make a deal”, one of the most shocking moments when one of the team is spilled out half eaten by the creature, a scene which really scares me when I was watching it because I was eating a piece of pizza and my appetite was gone immediately. Between these action packed tracks, there are also some quieter moments in “Leila’s Gone” and “The Shirt” with the lyrical theme, played on piano or flute. On the new release, you also have two additional tracks, especially the “Wild Drums” is great fun.

For the first release of the soundtrack, Goldsmith uses about 33 minutes but Intrada released this year an extended version with the full soundtrack. Thank you again Douglass Fake for making this release possible! This score is another great example why Jerry is the best film music composer. How can someone compose such great music for this crappy movie!

Here is a suite with the music:

Copyright © Stefan Riedlinger, 2014, all rights reserved. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Stefan Riedlinger.

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