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- Shades of Hitchcock all the way through!
From the opening credits with that haunting music, to the tragic car accident scene, to the first scenes on the open sea (only 4 minutes in), all the way to the end, this movie is GREAT! There is no other movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The three person cast is amazingly talented. You feel trapped and scared with John Ingram (Sam Neill) as he tries to escape the bows of a sinking ship and get to his wife. You feel the hopelessness of Rae Ingram (Nicole Kidman) trapped with a madman and find yourself yelling "Yes! That's right! Go! Go!" as her quick witted mind begins to work as she attempts many different ways of defending herself. And it is understandable why she won't kill the captor, for after the death of her son, I think that she finds killing a last resort and will do anything not to have to kill a person. And as Hughie Warner, you can tell that Billy Zane is having soooo much fun with his crazed role.
On top of all that the boat, Sarascen, is really cool. Plus, throw in a heart pounding scene as Rae fights Hughie inside the boat during a huge storm, a heart wrenching demise to the family dog, a handful of sleeping pills, and one too many flares, there you have one awesome thriller....more info
- NOTHING SHORT OF BRILLIANT
This is Australian Film Making at its best, with 3 Brilliant Performances. It is a sad shame that Kidman has accepted lesser roles to make money - as her current acting is no reflection on this film, If you liked caped fear then this is for you....more info
- nicole kidman.- beautiful.brave and smart.
Kidman in one of her best performances.-Great acting in the role of a beautiful, brave and smart woman who beats in a dangerous "chess game- like" situation, a serial killer intent to kill her husband and claim her as a prize. ...more info
- A small cast doing a great job.
It must be quite a challenge, to make a movie with only three real characters that can still hold the attention of the audience. Philip Noyce has actually made it work. Right from the beginning Neill, Kidman and Zane manage to keep the viewer bound to his television. The story keeps up an admirable pace and the characters truly come to life. Zane as a lunatic seems at first to be overplaying his part, but in the end you can believe he is totally crazy. Neill and Kidman as the married couple out for a cruise that get stuck with the maniac killer manage to convey a true affection for each other despite the recent shock to their relationship. My only objection is the end. I know, that cinematic psycho's are nearly indestructible, but the way Billy Zane, seriously injured several times, manages to keep on coming is suspending disbelieve a little too far....more info
- Terrific movie
Love Nicole Kidman. This is a terrific thriller. One of her "early roles" - before she started using so much botox.......more info
- They make the most out of what they have
I didn't know what to expect out of this film, if anything much. Though Nicole Kidman, Sam Neil and Billy Zane are all very recognizable actors, this film was set before their rise to stardome. These are not only the three main characters in the film, but after the first 10 minutes, basically the only 3 charcaters in this film. The setting is in seclusion out in the open ocean - 2 small ships. One is the fancy little yaught that the Neil and Kidman characters are vacationing on, and the other, in the process of sinking, with a fleeing Billy Zane who comes abaord the couple's yaught. The husband (Neil) tries to salvage the sinking ship while Zane rests up, but when he wakes, his true self comes to life as the films' villain, kidnapping the wife (Kidman) and stealing the yaught.
The limited setting of a small yaught kept me wondering how interesting and up-to pace the plot would actually be. Surprisingly, there are some little twists and surprising events along the way, mostly trying to figure out this villain - who he really is and what his intentions are. He's obviously psychotic, yet at the same time very weird and unusual. And while the suspenseful thrills aboard the yaught take place between Kidman and Zane, Neil is in a very tight spot, trapped inside the other ship quickly sinking. In the end, like many thrillers, it's all not over till its over. The climax finally picks up the greatest pace and came to a satisfying conclusion.
Though there is only so much you can do with a film like this, the creators did a decent job of making the most out of it. An original setting for a thriller makes this worthy of checking out, but overall, its mildly entertaining at most.
Acting - 4
Characters - 4
Story - 3.5
Suspense - 4
Overall - 4
- Well-done suspense
This is a well-done suspense thriller, small, very competent cast. Good direction. Sam Neil and Nicole Kidman do a terrific job. The photography is a bit uninspired, but consistent throughout....more info
- Not Really Too Scary
I expected a lot more terrifying film than this turned out. Yeah, there were some good scenes but not enough of them, certainly not scary enough to make this a memorable film. This sort of story has been done more than a few times and done a lot better.
It isn't that this is a bad movie, it's just one of those you keep saying to yourself, "This should have been better because there are just many things in here that make so sense!"
Nicole Kidman was about 21 when she made this and 20 years later, she's as beautiful as ever. This was her first big film that put her "on the map."
Just looking at her is probably the only reason I ever watch this again. Billy Zane was good, however, as the crazed villain.
- Dead Calm
A thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat from begining to end....more info
- Good flick, bad ending
It's a fine movie with fine characters, weird music, one awesome dog, but an ending that will make you angry...more info
This is one film that is indelibly etched in my mind forever! It gives me the creeps! I can't watch it just any ol' time, because it's so freaky. I find it exhausting, because throughout the movie, my heart runs the Kentucky Derby, and my mind reels from the sheer and realistic terror! I LOVE it! Solidly acted, great plot twists, and just complete fun if you like to have your wits strung out on a line! Plus, seeing Sam Neill in uniform is a nice thing too!...more info
- Do strangers in the movies ever do you any good?
See DEAD CALM. I had heard nothing about this film when (1988) it came out and caught it at the movies on a whim. Today the three actors are all better known but DEAD CALM is worth seeing for its quality (Unlike, for instance, watching the early '80s bomb LOSIN' IT to see then-unknowns Tom Cruise and Shelley Long). Could you imagine saving a stranger whose boat's sinking, just to find out he's psychotic? As with many of these well-this-is-a-fine-mess flicks, DEAD CALM ends a bit shaky, but you will be rooting for Nicole Kidman and Sam Neill and may not mind....more info
- Great Movie
This is a movie full of suspense. It keeps you on the edge of your seat and rooting for the heroine....more info
- Dedicated Wife
You never hear much about this movie when people speak of Nicole Kidman I think this is one her very best roles, she is sweet, dedicated and a true heroine. She is cute in the movie as the wife who never gives up trying to save her husband and she never loses her temper being the victim she keeps her calm.....................more info
- Suspenseful Voyage
I loved the film. Sam Neill and Nicole Kidman were paired beautifully in this plot. Billy Zane was also an exceptional choice for his part. It's a thriller filled with plenty of suspense keeping you on the edge of you seat throughout the movie. If you love the sea and sailing you will especially enjoy this one....more info
- dead bang to rights
Just a wonderful movie that will make you think, keep you mildly interested and overall, a good spend of 90 minutes. Filmed before anyone really knew any of these actors, they do a fine job of keeping you suspended during the life of the film. Not a great movie but certainly entertaining enough....more info
I watched this movie with my fiancee last night, and it was disappointing. We started watching the clock after about twenty minutes, asking "Is this over yet?" The actors themselves aren't bad, but the dialogue they were given to work with was pretty bad, cliche, overcooked, etc. The fact that the husband and wife were split up and effectively had separate stories for most of the movie was a pretty cool idea, but I was never invested enough in either character to really care....more info
- 3 stars out of 4
The Bottom Line:
A tense three-person thriller that makes the most of its desolate marine locations and claustrophobic ships, Dead Calm is a skillful film that could have used a better ending but is nonetheless worth watching....more info
- A fine little thriller.
This movie may not have cost a bundle to make, but none the less it was finely done and is a really tight well crafted psychological thriller. Many weeks out to sea Nicole Kidman and her Husband help a stranded gentleman in a sinking ship. The man ,Billy Zane, is a paranoid delusional who is extremely dangerous. Situations take a turn for the worse when Husband and wife get separated, and Nicole Kidman gets stuck with the madman. The movie keeps you interested and you find yourself rooting for Nicole. The ending is a bit over the top, but still a most enjoyable ride. ...more info
- Well directed and good casting. Great Movie
After Nicole Kidman and her husband, Sam Neill, lose their young son in a tragic automobile accident, they decide to take a long cruise on their yacht to clear their minds.
The cruise is going well until a survivor,Billy Zane, of a sinking ship is rescued by the couple.
Once on their yacht, Neill finds it necessary to go and investigate the ship, leaving Kidman and Zane back on the yacht, alone.
Zane leaves Neill and takes the yacht the other direction. When Kidman finds that this man on their ship is a madman, she realizes that her life is in danger.
After an attempt is made to make contact with her husband by radio is not succesful, she tries everything, she can think of to get their boat back to Neill, on the ship, which is sinking.
Her last straw is to cooperate with Zane and so when he comes to her and kisses her,and strips her, she knows that this is going to happen, she goes along with it out of fear and lets him rape her.
The rape scene is quite graphic but illustrates his savage desire for her. Finally after he's done, she manages to free herself of his constant presence.
After much fighting and cat and mouse activity Kidman is able to knock him out and push his body off of the boat.
Now, with the yacht in her control she turns it around to go back and finds her husband.
Now that they are together again she feels safe. As her husband gives her a shsmpoo, they talk about breakfast. When Neill goes to fix it, guess who comes aboard the yacht? Right! Zane... remember him? He wasn't dead, he's back. as Kidman and Zane scuffle, Neill comes to the rescue and does Zane in forever. No on knows about this but Nicole Kidman, Sam Neill, and you and I....more info
- A Triumph of Movie Minimalism
This movie is a must see for any budding movie directors out there. The plot and script is excellent, but the setting for the film is a classic example of how less can be more. Consider: Two yachts, three characters and a featureless ocean. Under such limited resources, such a film could easily become a study in banality, but the director avoids this with careful attention to detail. Dead Calm has not received the attention it deserves....more info
- Terrific movie
Love Nicole Kidman. This is a terrific thriller. One of her "early roles" - before she started using so much botox.......more info
- whats with the cover?
What the heck was Warner Bros. thinking when they decided on the cover art for this DVD edition? Apparently they were hoping to cash in on the movies star power. Sam Neil, Nicole Kidman, and Billy Zane were basically unknowns at the time. If you wand to know what Im talking about, check out the cover of the VHS edition. Otherwise, I love this movie. It's not like I'm not going to buy it because I didn't like the new cover....more info
- the big yuck
It is a well made movie with very good acting, both Kidman and Zane are in excellent form etc etc etc.
However, somehow it manages to stink from the very beginning to the very end.
It is not a crime and I suppose it was designed to be this way and there is a big market out there for all things stinky, but I am not a part of this market.
- Seaworthy thriller
Alone on an ocean sailing trip to recuperate after the death of their son, a husband and wife (Sam O'Neill and Nicole Kidman) find themselves in a battle of wits against an insane killer (Billy Zane) who they rescue from the sea. The great majority of the film revolves around these three characters, and the actors generate some real tension, particularly Kidman and Zane, since O'Neill is alone on a sinking boat for much of the time. The tense stand-off between wife and killer and the husband's struggle to avoid drowning are effective counterpoints.
The subplot about the dead son never figures in the film after the extraneous prologue, and there are some classic dunderhead horror film cliches (ie, the killer who won't stay dead and the victim who doesn't shoot the killer when she can), but this remains an entertaining film....more info
- Insanity on the high seas
Nicole is beautiful and delicate as always, Sam Neill never turned me on but he played the loyal hubby ok. The star of the show was Billy Zane who played the psyco so well it makes ya wonder. It was tense but a bit slow, and , I thought of the boats and the ocean as characters also. The ending was a bit hokey, for some reason, in any thriller, the directors always have to have the villian die twice. And, we, as the audience, know this, so it takes away from the intensity. But they're gonna do what they're gonna do. The moral is never take you boat so far out you can't see land and as on land don't pick up strangers. Enjoy!...more info
- But what if you really donyt care anything about boats?
Dead Calm is one of those movies that many have told me they liked, yet I have never really gotten into it. Maybe under one circumstance or another I've started watching it, or had an opportunity (a friend?) But just never got far past the opening.
So I finally sit down in front of it for 96 mins. I guess it tries hard to be a serious thriller, yet I can't take anything very seriously on a sailboat in the middle of nowhere. Phillip Noyce directed it, and, besides the two Jack Ryan movies he directed, he's made a couple of seriously flawed films (The Saint, Sliver). Maybe this movie takes itself a little too seriously.
I far prefer a campier version, like Kill Cruise (with Jurgen Prochnow, Jennifer Rubin, and Patsy Kensit) There the captain is a drunk, and his two passengers are the lowest form of party girls. When it starts to hit the fan there, you expect it. You've waited for it. You want it. You love it.
Here it's hard to imagine why Nicole Kidman didn't just kill Billy Zane any of the 1st 50 or so opportunities she had. The sort of needless and forced tension her hesitancy produces tends to lose my interest quickly. In the film's so called climax, she performs the Herculean task of driving the boat, and shining the light, and pulling her husband-200lbs of wet, exhausted man-to safety from a fast-moving boat. Yet in the film's opening she can't drive and talk at the same time without causing a fatal accident.
One man's irony is another's idiocy....more info