6.8/10
30,296
141 user 62 critic

Dead Calm (1989)

After a tragedy, John Ingram and his wife Rae spend some time isolated at sea when they come across a stranger who has abandoned a sinking ship.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
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ON DISC
5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
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Rod Mullinar ...
Joshua Tilden ...
George Shevtsov ...
Michael Long ...
Lisa Collins ...
Paula Hudson-Brinkley ...
Sharon Cook ...
...
Benji ...
Dog (as Benji U.D. A.D.)
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Storyline

An Australian couple take a sailing trip in the Pacific to forget about a terrible accident. While on the open sea, in dead calm, they come across a ship with one survivor who is not at all what he seems. Written by Loring Holden <loring@healthchex.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

High Seas. Deep Terror. See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 April 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dead Calm: A Voyage Into Fear  »

Box Office

Gross:

$7,825,009 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filming took almost six months. See more »

Goofs

Before Rae and Hughie move on the floor to have sex Rae and Hughie are fully clothed. When they drop onto the floor Hughie is naked while Rae is only partially dressed. See more »

Quotes

Hughie Warriner: How do I smell?
[no answer]
Hughie Warriner: Thanks for your honest opinion.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The producers wish to thank the owners of 'Storm Vogel' for the use of their yacht as the 'Saracen' and Keith Williams, the staff and management of Hamilton Island. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Water Rats: Ghost Ship (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

New York Turnpike
Written & Performed by Tim O'Connor
Copyright © 1988 Kennedy Miller Productions Pty. Ltd.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Slow-burning and well-acted, sure to give you both thrills and chills.
24 February 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

After reading the plot for Dead Calm I was expecting an edge-of-your-seat boat massacre thriller, and in a sense that's exactly what Dead Calm is. I was always on the edge of my seat, anxious to know what would happen next and terrified for the characters in their respective situations, but there was much less violence than I was expecting. And I'm not complaining. Most of the violence is implied rather than shown, and the movie not only deals with physical abuse but emotional and mental abuse as well. The story is basically that this couple goes out to sea on a getaway to forget about a recent tragedy, and while they're out in the middle of the ocean they encounter a strange boat and a strange man who claims that his crew was killed by food poisoning. The way the pieces come together is very satisfying, especially when the truth slowly reveals itself and both the husband and wife are going through equally scary dilemmas as this stranger is roaming freely around their boat.

The acting is really what sells this movie. A boat movie with only three characters can get boring quickly, but thanks to the cast, I was totally in it. Sam Neil is separated from the others for a good amount of the film, but when he needs to shine, he does. The anchors of this movie are Nicole Kidman and Billy Zane. Kidman is excellent as the emotionally distraught wife who is doing everything she can to keep it together while desperately trying outsmart the stranger. Billy Zane had me worried for a bit - I could tell he was acting, and at times he was a bit cartoonish, but by the end you come to realize that the character is an absolute nutcase so his erratic acting makes sense. You're not sure if he's just a guy who had a rough week, or a sympathetic victim of circumstance, or a straight up maniacal psychopath. This uncertainty helps keep the thriller afloat (yeah) and keeps you anxious to see whatever happens next.

The only real complaint I have about Dead Calm is that it does get a little slow at times. It's very atmospheric and moody for a majority of the film and there's no problem with that, but I couldn't help but be distracted during some of the longer quiet moments. Regardless, it all builds up to the movie's exciting climax which doesn't disappoint. The music is great as well - haunting and subtle. Keep in mind Dead Calm is not a jump-scare type of horror thriller. It's slow-paced, grounded and completely plausible, which for me is the scariest kind.


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