The Deep

In DVD/Blu-ray by Samuel Love

Following the triumphant release of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws in 1975, Hollywood looked to repeat the film’s success with many similar releases in the years that followed. In 1977, director Peter Yates gave the world a cinematic adaptation of Jaws author Peter Benchley’s inferior nautical novel The Deep, which finally receives a UK Blu-ray release courtesy of 101 Films. In Bermuda, two amateur treasure-hunting divers (Nick Nolte and Jacqueline Bisset) have a run-in with local criminals when they inadvertently discover the secret cargo of a World War II shipwreck. With the help of local treasure expert Romer (Jaws’ Robert Shaw), they embark on a dangerous adventure. 

This bog-standard adventure film doesn’t particularly impress on narrative or structural levels, delivering a by-the-books genre outing that feels considerably more dated than the vastly superior Jaws. The Deep never captures the imagination of the viewer, and the thinly-written characters mean that dramatic tension is near non-existent. The film feels like a desperate attempt to cash in on the success of Spielberg’s iconic shark flick, and the result is a hollow and lifeless little film that entirely wastes the talents of its all-star cast.

While the film does impress on a technical level – the breathtaking underwater cinematography throughout feels fresh even now – it is not enough to bring the tedious and underwhelming The Deep up to the surface.

101 Films’ Blu-ray release features a serviceable but dated transfer with two audio tracks (Stereo PCM and DTS-HD Master Audio), and the following special features:

• Cinema Retro mini-magazine

• Commentary with film critic Kevin Lyons

• Interview with underwater Art Director Terry Ackland-Snow

• The Making of The Deep featurette

• Select scenes from the 3-hour Special Edition