This film opens to immediately establish two points. Firstly, drilling for oil on the seabed has unleashed a strange and aggressive creature. Second, a severe storm is imminent and the oil rig is being evacuated of all non-essential staff. Thus, promisingly, a threat has been defined and placed in an isolated environment with a group of likely victims. Sadly, The Rig fails to capitalise on any initial potential and becomes more tedious with every dragging minute of screen time.

The oil rig could have been an interesting and claustrophobic setting, but alas it seems to have only been used to reduce location costs. In films like Buried this can be utilised as a hugely effective tool; in films like The Rig it is simply background. No attempt was made to develop characters naturally. Instead, horrendous stereotypes are forced together, often with little regard for common sense, and contrived relationships abound. If the characters were clichéd, the dialogue attains a new level of hackneyed exchange, and herein lays the biggest problem with this film: it takes itself far too seriously. Unlike a picture such as Tremors there is no sense of fun or irony in The Rig — both essential factors for a movie with this premise and limited resources.

Whilst the cinematography is not a main concern in a film of this type, it should not make the viewer laugh! In one scene the remains of a kill are discovered by the boss’ daughter, and smash cuts are used like strobes: alternately on the gore and then her reaction, back and forth, over and over again. In a sixth form media project this could be seen as an artistic flourish; in a feature film it looks like a technique culled from a 1980s soap opera.

Attempting to combine elements of the Alien films, The Thing and Predator, the film even plagiarises a key piece of dialogue from Captain Brody in Jaws. Whilst the intention was certainly homage, in a feature of this low quality it translates as a cheap rip-off. Other than educating me to the fact that an oil rig worker is called a ‘roughneck’, The Rig had little else to offer.

The Rig is available on DVD now

Posted by Ed Pope

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