(1989)

Critic Reviews

62

Metascore

Based on 14 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
Stupendously exciting and emotionally engulfing... With probing intelligence and passionate feeling, Cameron has raised the adventure film very close to the level of art.
80
Before this voyage plummets into Stevie Spielberg's locker, the human stuff is more than worth the descent.
75
San Francisco Chronicle
Both Mastrantonio and Harris are terrific, never missing a beat, always convincing, even when playing the most extreme emotions. [9 Aug 1989, Daily Datebook, p.E1]
75
Entertainment Weekly
The Abyss ends with a whimper. But it starts out with a bang that lasts for an exciting hour and a half. And that's enough to make it worth taking the plunge.
75
USA Today
If you end up cursing, try not to forget The Abyss' spectacular oil-rig collapse, a killer chase scene, two fine leads, and one Oscar-worthy "creature'' special effect midway through. Do forget the rest - unless you really dig Casper, the Friendly Ghost. [9 Aug 1989, Life, p.1D]
75
Chicago Tribune
The Abyss is at its best during such moments of reverie-when the abstract metaphors and the unique physicality of the deep sea setting come together to produce powerful, unvoiced meanings. The film does have its beckoning depths; what it needs is a more polished surface. [9 Aug 1989, Tempo, p.1]
70
A firstrate underwater suspenser with an otherworldly twist, The Abyss suffers from a payoff unworthy of its buildup.
60
Weirdly, the film's problem is that it revs up the tension so much that, like one character's submersible sinking into the high pressure of the titular Abyss, it finally bursts. The climax - as Bud descends to defuse the nuke and meet the aliens - just doesn't work.
50
Los Angeles Times
But the climax of "Close Encounters" was breathtaking and the climax of The Abyss is downright embarrassing; in the light of day, its payoff effect looks like a glazed ceramic what's-it your 11-year-old made in crafts class. It's criminal. [9 Aug 1989, Calendar, p.6-1]
50
TV Guide
It lacks the emotional impact and suspense of its predecessors and is spoiled by a disappointingly inane ending. What ultimately saves the film are its extraordinary sets and phenomenal Oscar-winning visual effects.
38
Christian Science Monitor
The Abyss' isn't abysmal, but it's a replay of hits we've already seen - a recycled "close encounters of the wet kind'' with far too few ideas of its own. [18 Aug 1989, Arts, p.10]

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