After a minor delay due to me emigrating, the ISCFC is back with…what’s the opposite of a bang? Our campaign to review every SyFy Channel original movie continues with a relatively star-studded entry about a creature which is 100% not the creature described in the title.
Okay, the creature in the title never really existed, I suppose; and some people have linked the mythological Kraken to the then-undiscovered Giant Squid, but…if you, the modern movie-goer, think of the word at all, you’re going to have a picture something like this in your mind:
And not a bloody normal (albeit grossly oversized) sea-creature. But getting annoyed about this stuff is a fool’s errand, and it’s not like it’s the worst part of the movie either. So let’s continue and talk about a cast list with one genuine future star in it, a couple of sort-of-stars, and plenty of Canadian cast-filler, those people familiar to us odd folk who watch genre TV shows filmed in Canada and little else.
A ways down the cast list is a young Cory Monteith, a couple of years before “Glee” would briefly make him a superstar. Had it not been for him being a pretty naff actor, and unfortunately being a drug addict, he was in a perfect position to launch a huge career for himself; sadly, he died of an overdose in 2013. Then you’ve got Victoria Pratt, who I love from “Mutant X”, and has previously been covered by us in “House of the Dead 2” and “Mongolian Death Worm”; she ought to have had a better career than she did, but she’s still out there. Charlie O’Connell has done pretty well for himself, considering he’s a less talented and attractive version of his brother; and Jack Scalia is clearly upset he never got that big break after appearances on “Dallas” and other network TV shows back in the day. Rounding things out are Canadian regulars Aleks Paunovic (“Continuum”, “iZombie”, “Arctic Air”) and Elias Toufexis (“Alphas”, “Smallville”, “Eureka”, and way more importantly for me, the voice of Adam Jensen in the last two “Deus Ex” computer games).
ISCFC IMPORTANT TIP: Never trust villains in movies. You know that thing when the third or fourth-billed good guy is actually selling secrets to the villains? And the villain always, always double-crosses them, or kills them, but no matter what, it never works out well for the “good guy”? But they still do it, and we still wait for them to get found out and murdered, and they always do.
I suppose we ought to talk about the actual movie! After a cold open where a family gets murdered in “Desolation Passage” in 1982, by an enormous tentacled creature, leaving only the child to survive, we flash forward 25 years to a boat of people who are there on a sort of scientific expedition, although they just seem like treasure hunters to me. Nicole (Pratt) is after a mask which was last seen in a shipwreck in the passage, and which will prove…who cares? That all of recorded history is wrong, or something. She’s helped out by Michael (Monteith) and Jenny (Kristi Angus), who are probably students, but her captain is killed by the Kraken fairly early on, so she needs more help, and luckily into the picture comes Ray (O’Connell), the grown-up kid from 1982.
Add in a couple of villains, led by Maxwell (Scalia) and Ike (Paunovic), who are also looking for the treasure for almost noble purposes (doesn’t stop them from blowing up boats and murdering people, though); and an enormous amount of diving footage (which, to be fair, looks like it’s being done by the cast themselves) and you’ve got yourself a SyFy movie. The centrepiece of the shipwrecked collection is a giant opal, and every time it’s changed hands down the centuries it’s caused a massive maritime accident, and the implication is that the kraken is guarding it, although why is a question never answered.
It’s a completely ordinary, average SyFy movie. It’s let down by two awful performances in central roles – O’Connell just can’t act, and has never been able to, and Scalia can’t decide whether he wants to be the genial villain or just a straight-up psychopath. His motivation, to get back in his family’s good graces, is also never really explained.
It does have a classic “Haha all our friends are dead” at the end, where the obvious final couple, despite their co-workers having been eaten by a giant sea monster or shot by a scumbag hours previously, get down to some sweet loving in the bottom of a small row-boat. That they’re waiting to be rescued, despite being an easy row from the shore, with oars, is never commented on by the movie either.
I don’t know. I think I ought to re-evaluate my ranking system for SyFy. If you see it in the listings, will it cause you actual physical pain to watch? Or will it pass by and be pleasant enough? (Actual good SyFy movies are rare beasts indeed). So let’s re-purpose our three grades for that.
Rating: thumbs in the middle