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Cast | Classic Lines | DVD | Foreign Titles | Formats | Interviews | Notes | Pictures | Reviewing the DVD | Summary - Official | My Summary | My Review | Together Before


Character Actor
Captain Sean Murdoch Malcolm McDowell
Officer John Tarkis Michael Paré
Cora Fell Heidi von Palleske
1st Mate Nigel Chan Mackenzie Gray
Navigator Willie Chaney Hal Eisen
Martine Quiller Gwynyth Walsh
Baz Derek Ritschel
Engineer Santiago Michael Johnson
Cyborg Daniela Nolano
Klove Morris Durante
Gunner Jules Delorme
Manx Clifton Sandy Kaizer
Cookie Glen Cullen
Convict Tom Piero Didiano
Guard #1 Tony Curtis Blondell
Convict Dick Tom Pashkov
Babs Elle Downs
Convict #3 Damien Dommer
Newsreader Sangita Vsman
Large Convict Doris Linzender
Female Sailor Carla Cesaroni
Nigerian Colonel Hector Johnson
Old Guard Steve Turl
Corporal Steve Vanvolkingberg
Guard Captain Robert Harrison O'Carroll
Guard #10 John Connolly
Convict #6 Vincent Walters
Convict #9 & #17 P.J. McGarroch
Female Convict #1 Jennifer Deschamps
Female Convict #2 Joana Maneses
Voice of Baby Lindsey Lomax
Servant Charlie McDowell

Directed by G. Philip Jackson
Written by Doug Bagot, Timothy Lee and Andrew Dowler

Classic Lines

You're in charge of security. You figure it out.
I live for the day I go to hell.


5.1 Stereo Surround Sound, Scene Selections, Theatrical Trailer (plus 2 other trailers for Thrillseekers and Laserhawk), Star Filmographies for Malcolm and Michael and Spanish Subtitles.

Chapter Index
1. Opening Credits
2. It's Him
3. We Need a Captain
4. Welcome Aboard
5. A Baby
6. Inspecting Cargo
7. One Big Happy Family
8. Captain Murdoch
9. All Engines Ahead
10. The Voyage
11. Attacked by a Rat?
12. Ghost Story
13. Sabotage
14. Mishaps
15. Entry Denied
16. Mayday, Mayday
17. Escaped Convict
18. Deadly Cargo
19. Baby's Alive
20. Combat Status
21. A Little Problem
22. Find Out the Truth
23. Killing Machine
24. She's Awakened
25. Killing Spree
26. Planting Bombs
27. Let's Do It
28. Mama's Coming
29. Last Dance
30. Ending Credits

Malcolm's filmography is beyond a waste of time and makes no sense at all. This is it:
Cat People
Assassin of the Tsar
Chain of Desire

That is it!? No order from oldest to newest!? No ACO, if... or 70 other movies. What was the point!?

Foreign Titles

Canada - Hydrosphere
Germany - Dark Ocean: A Journey of the Dead


VHS - NTSC (Canada) + PAL / DVD R1


5/6/96 Toronto Sun
1997 - Parsec Magazine



Dark Ocean: A Journey of the Dead Video Cover

Reviewing the DVD

The disc is full frame and has no extras except for the most pathetic filmographies you ever saw. The picture is average and the sound was low. Malcolm's speech in the beginning is almost impossible to hear. You really need to crank up the sound system so you don't miss anything.

Sound 5
Picture 7
Extras 0
Overall Rating 4

Summary - Official

A lost ship...A crew of convicts...A hidden bomb...But the true terror is yet to come!

The meg-tanker Lilith needs a captain and the huge Proxate corporation wants the desperate and half drunk Captain Sean Murdoch (Malcolm McDowell, Star Trek: Generations, A Clockwork Orange). Murdoch hasn't captained a ship since sinking his last assignment and is desperate for a job. However, he quickly realizes he is in for more than he bargained for when he discovers that the Lilith is a prison ship, crewed by the viciously insane. The tough as nails warden Tarkis (Michael Paré, Men of Means, Carver's Gate) doesn't agree with Proxate's decision for captain, as the two have a long standing hatred. When crewmembers start dying under mysterious circumstances, mutiny seems inevitable. Just as things reach a fever pitch, Murdoch and Tarkis uncover a hidden bomb and realize that Proxate has a deadly agenda for the voyage.

My Summary

    In 2093 the Jason Acorn, a mega-tanker, was leaking in four compartments. The captain could've  saved her until the plasma drive blew up. She was on fire they fought it for days. Still the ship sunk and the crew was lost. The captain survived and was brought up on charges and had his license taken away. It wasn't his fault, but he was to blame.  The problem was the ship was classified as sea worthy by Manx Clifton even though it was not.
    Ten years later the captain is wandering near a harbor and a woman comes up to him saying she is looking for company, but she is really trying to rob him. She lifts his wallet, but he grabs her wrist and breaks it. A man in an umbrella watches nearby as the woman's two male accomplices attack the captain and start beating him. The man then shoots one attacker with a blaster and the two surviving thieves flee. The man with the gun turns the captain over and walks over to a nearby car and tells a leggy woman in the car that it is him.
    The captain wakes up in the car with blood on his lip and a bag on his lap. The woman is sitting next to him in the back seat puffing away on a cigarette. Her name is Martine and she works for Proxate. She offers him a job as captain of her ship. He wants to know what the bag is. She tells him that time is short and they went to his place and got his stuff. He tells her that if she knows who he is then she knows he isn't legally allowed to captain a vessel. She has a new ID made for him as Sean Murdoch that will get the job done. Now he is interested and wants to know about the ship. She tells him it is the Lilith. He snorts that it is 100 years old. She tells him it has been completely refitted, shows him the paperwork and informs him they sail at dawn. He wants to know the route. She tells him from Galveston to Nigeria. He knows it is the African route through the hurricane zone. She tells him the season just started and the company is so large that the United Nations is considering its application for nationhood if they complete the mission, the first company since Disney. He has nothing to lose and accepts.
    They go to the tanker late that night to show him the crew. On the bridge Santiago the engineer shouts that he knows who he is and goes to attack him. Murdoch punches him in the gut and backhands him on the neck and he goes down much to the chagrin of Marine and Tarkis. He is  introduced next to his second in command, the British Ensign Chan. Murdoch asks him if was in the  navy and had ever seen action.  He did when he served on the Princess Di during the Third Gulf War. Murdoch tells him to put Santiago on ice and Ensign Baz helps. Murdoch wants Tarkis to make himself useful and help them out. The navigator Chaney has a weird tattoo on his head and Murdoch asks him what equipment they have. He shows him the fetal-neural computer which consists of an embryonic fetus hardwired into the ships' computer system - original equipment 86 years old. Murdoch is not happy as they have been outlawed for 40 years. He doesn't want the navigator to ever plug in, use voice command only, and shows Martine that the man is an addict by the socket in the back of his head.  Then they go to inspect the rest of the ship. As soon as they leave the navigator plugs into the baby and is able to communicate telepathically with it.
    They inspect the cargo and crew according to the code. Murdoch is less than thrilled to find out the crew consists of the criminally insane. Martine tells him that is part of their core business - prisons. It is all perfectly legal. They demonstrate the obedience collars that offer no chance of resistance no matter how strong they are. She also explains that the cargo barrels consist of synthetic protein for the Nigerian reconstruction because of the long war they were involved in. There is now a famine.  Murdoch pulls on the lashing and the barrels come loose right away. He tells Tarkis that the convicts need to learn better lashing methods. Tarkis knocks down the nearest man and tells him he heard what the captain said.
    Murdoch heads back to the bridge and finds a long-haired gothic looking woman named Cora applying for the job of first mate and Murdoch asks if she minds a crew of convicts and since she doesn't - she gets the job. He notices she is barefoot and leaves wet footprints as she leaves. He tells the command staff that the crew and the ship are a joke and that they are on their own with this old ship and to inspect it top to bottom and make any repairs as they need them and that they sail at dawn.
    Tarkis and Martine find a secluded spot to make out. She opens up her top and gives him a special penis ring so he won't forget him. She finishes pleasing him orally and makes sure the ring will fit.
    Murdoch finds his cabin and starts to take a drink, but passes on it. He throws his bag in a locker and finds an old captains jacket in there and puts it on. He then goes off to inspect the ship.
    Tarkis tells Martine that Murdoch is damaged goods. She tells him that he can control him and then gives him a cell phone that will only reach her in an emergency.
    The next morning they set sail and Murdoch leads them out on a peaceful sea at 1/8 power. After they set sail he calls for Tarkis to bring the navigator to his cabin. Murdoch, Tarkis and Cora are there. Murdoch asks the man what his outburst was before. He tells him he knows who he is and that his father went down on the Jason Acorn. Murdoch understands now and tells him he can take orders from him or from Tarkis. The engineer decides to stick with the captain. Murdoch goes to shake his hand and grabs it hard while pulling out a knife. Murdoch tells him it is made of pure silver and he pulled it off a sea hag in Rio. He cuts the engineer's palm and then his own and mixes it. He sends him off a loyal man.
    The prisoners are shown in their cages, working, smoking and hanging out. Murdoch sends Chan and Ensign Willie to inspect the ship for anything that needs repairs. Tarkis goes off the bridge and outside to look at the sea. Murdoch spies him there and knows it is his first voyage. Tarkis admits it and can't understand why anyone would love the sea.
    Eventually Chan and Willie come across some water and follow it to a flooded room. The ship isn't taking in water, but there is a leak in the plumbing. Chan sends the man down the stairs into the flooded room. Something catches his eye - a black tank with the words "Boudicca Facility" on it. Something is familiar about it to him. When he is knee deep in the water Chan tells him the drain should be nearby and to reach down and unclog it. He reaches around and suddenly something jumps out and attacks him clawing his hand and face open. Chan rushes him down to the officers mess. Nobody saw what it was, but Chan thinks it was a rat. Murdoch, Tarkis and Cora come down and Murdoch sends them all off and lets Cora take care of it. She starts sowing some stitches in his neck and uses something to burn the wound shut.
    Later they are all in the mess hall eating when Tarkis enters and sits down for a drink. He sees the Ensigns' wounds and asks what happened. He tells him a rat got him. Tarkis asks if he checked for rabies. Cora says yes, but it doesn't matter. If he does, he'll burn, like the "Tyrannus". Tarkis asks what that is. Cora and Murdoch explain that in 1673 a ship set sail from Africa with a cargo of slaves and only a mile or so out caught fire. They say it still sails around to this day with the captain eternally in hell.
    Chan finds a bomb hidden away while repairing the plumbing. Tarkis is called in and is able to disarm it easily. He says it is amateur work, but there is enough explosives to make it look like an engine explosion and they would be sent to the bottom. Murdoch wants Santiago to rig it to a bell to find out when it would detonate. Tarkis says there has to be another bomb. Murdoch tells him that is Tarkis' problem. Tarkis tells him he will take his guards and anyone Murdoch can spare to search the ship for the other bomb.
    Tarkis calls Martine to tell her about the bomb. She is at a party and doesn't seem phased. She tells him it must be their competition and is probably Murdoch.
    They continue to search for the other bomb as the ship heads into a bad storm. Santiago rigs the dead bomb and the prisoners get restless during the storm. Soon after the lashings break and some prisoners are trapped under the cargo and Tarkis is forced to help them.
    The storm gets worse and the engines are at full. Then something breaks loose in the engine room that causes a major leak and the engine starts losing power. Santiago thinks it will be an hour or two before he can get it under control. Right after that Chan finds the second bomb. Tarkis gets to it and isn't exactly sure what to cut as the wires are reversed. Just then the light goes off for when the first bomb was to detonate. Murdoch tells him to cut it now and he does. It would have gone off during the height of the storm.
    Manx meets with Martine after the party on Proxate city which is an oil rig platform in the middle of the ocean. She wants to know if the ship has sunk. She says no and is told to contact the Nigerian petroleum.
    The ship is ten hours out from landfall in Nigerian waters. Soon after a patrol craft flies over. The Nigerian colonel tells Murdoch he cannot enter their space. Murdoch doesn't understand as he's the one who signed the paperwork. His request has been rescinded. They stop the engines, but the Nigerians begin firing missiles at them. Murdoch calls on Tarkis to find out what is going on. Tarkis calls Martine, but she is distant and tells him Murdoch must be behind it and she'll take care of it.
    Willie calls on Murdoch to send out the May Day call and he agrees. The only way this can be done is for him to have Baby do it. When he puts in the request Baby flips out and all the main systems are shorted out. Baby was jammed so when the code was given it sabotaged the main systems.
    Another missile hits the hull causing fire and hull damage. Water starts to leak in. The prisoners start to riot and Tarkis is forced to shoot at them. He hits one of the cargo barrels and nearby prisoners are burned by the contents leaking out. Murdoch arrives to get the prisoners out as he knows the area will soon be flooded and they will die. One prisoner whose face is all burned makes a run for it and escapes. They chase after him, but he is able to kill one of the guards.
    Manx wants to know if plan two was successful and is upset even more.
    Murdoch orders some men to open up one of the cargo barrels to find out what is inside. Tarkis tells him it is ordinary industrial waste. But inside the waste is something more insidious. A biohazardous canister. It contains Clarion, a illegal bioweapon only used once, by the Texas Confederacy to wipe out Syria. It is known as the 20 minute plague - killing all who come in contact with it.
    The escaped convict doesn't have long to live then. He is trying to escape into the sea when Cora catches up with him. She breaks his neck and puts him out of his misery.
    The Clarion is not in its gaseous state and therefore isn't contagious. Back in the captain's quarters Chan reveals that if the ship sinks the Clarion won't be destroyed - it will multiply. The oceans and most likely the world will die. Murdoch tells Tarkis he must have known about this. Tarkis says he knew about the waste, but not the Clarion. Murdoch tells him a deadly cargo on a worthless ship doesn't add up. With all the sabotage, someone must be behind it. Tarkis sets out to prove him wrong.
    Murdoch inspects the engine repairs and finds Santiago has repaired the ship well. Santiago wants to know what happened to the Jason Acorn. He tells him he trusted someone and it cost him everything. Manx certified the ship as seaworthy when it wasn't. Santiago tells him they are in the same situation - the ship was junk, his father died on it, he is the captain and Manx certified it. Same as now except he is there instead of his father. Murdoch is aghast to know Manx is behind the Lilith as well.
    Willie is linked up with Baby trying to find out what went wrong, but he can't get anything to work except the ships intercom. Everything else is dead. Murdoch wants answers.
    Meanwhile Manx can't understand why the ship hasn't sunk.
    Willie says Baby is sick and he is feeding her himself intravenously. Murdoch tells Willie to jack in so he can find out who sabotaged the ship. Baby says it is sick and he is pissed off and wants a name. Who tried to kill them? Baby can't do it. He says to show him then and Baby shows him that it was Clifton. Willie is hurting from the jack in when Tarkis arrives.
    The next day Murdoch is in his cabin studying the codes. He finds out that the ship can't complete it's charter it must return to it's state. If Proxate is now a state and the ship is attacked, it has become a warship. Murdoch decides to pour himself that drink.
    Tarkis is trying to get the crew to mutiny by bringing the ship to land. Murdoch says they shall continue and that is what they do. Murdoch walks in and is now completely drunk. He announces that the Lilith is now on combat status. The chef comes in and brings him food and he throws it away. Tarkis wants him to get to land. Murdoch tells him it is his fault, his dick got him into the trouble and the ship is destined to sink, in heaven it will have been his fault, but in hell he will be able to make Manx pay. He tells Tarkis that by being put on this ship he had his death warrant signed. Tarkis tries to bribe them, but it doesn't work.
    Tarkis leaves, calls Martine and tells him that Murdoch has declared it a warship. She says it is not a problem and they will be cleared to land. He also tells him they know about the cargo. She tells him that isn't a problem either and that Murdoch was set up to take the fall for it as it will be seen as his revenge against Manx. She also tells him to arrest Murdoch and take control. Before he can do that Murdoch hits him on the back of the head. Now they have a signal that can lead them straight to Proxate City.
    Soon after Tarkis escapes and starts to work on Baby. Before he gets anywhere Murdoch catches him. Tarkis says he can access Proxates secret files and find out the truth. Murdoch asks why he should trust him. If he can get into the files he can get assistance from Proxate. If it is all a lie he will join up with Murdoch.
    He tricks Martine and calls her saying he has taken control of the ship. He accesses the files and finds out that Proxate supplied Syria with Clarion. The enemy used it on our troops and now wants to use the Lilith to get rid of all the evidence. Tarkis is devastated to learn his loyalty was to be repayed by his death.
    Manx informs Martine that the Lilith is heading their way and she can not believe it.   
    The crew has a briefing to figure out how they will fight Proxates troops when they get there.
    Manx informs Martine that the Cyborg Assassin was also put on board the ship to be disposed of with everything else on board. Martine decides to reactivate it to take care of the job. 
    The assassin awakes and is covered in black leather and silver armor and wears a strange mask, her fingers are blades and her legs hide mini-rockets.
    They are waiting for the attack when the Ensign realizes the black Boudicca canister was really the weapon all along. He goes to check it out and it is empty. He informs the crew that she is already on board.
    Murdoch frees the prisoners and tells them if they fight alongside his men they will be given freedom when they land. The leader doesn't want to do it and is shot. The rest readily agree.
    The assassin prowls the ship killing one patrol after another and seems to be unstoppable. Bullets don't even slow her down. She hunts through the corridors and air ducts silently finishing off the men without much struggle as she can hunt with infrared. Eventually she kills the Ensign.
    Tarkis plans a trap in the prisoners area as Murdoch steers the ship to Proxate city. Murdoch eventually ties the wheel and goes hunting as well. The cyborg plants new bombs which can't be disarmed and blows up the main hold, crippling the ship. Chan finds the bomb, but there is nothing he can do except cut the wall around the bomb. Tarkis spills the toxic waste and sets it on fire as she enters. He thinks he has finished her off, but she isn't harmed and shoots him twice.
    Cora then summons power and energy from the sky and brings the cyborg to her. The two duel with energy beams and attack each other until they fall into an opening that leads to the water.
    Murdoch tells the crew that they ship cannot sink if the world is to live, but most of the crew is dead anyway. This is his final order.
    Martine shows up by landing a plane on deck and works her way to the hold to find out that Tarkis is still alive.  She says he sold her out, he says she screwed him over first. Chan and Murdoch sneak up behind her, but can't shoot her as she has the detonator. She tells him they can leave together and hands Tarkis the detonator. Murdoch has Chan then shoot her.
    Murdoch has Chan load up the Clarion onto Martine's plane and take it to the UN. He continues to ship toward its' suicide run toward Proxate city. He returns to the bridge only to find Cora at the helm. She tells him the cyborg couldn't swim and sunk to the bottom of the ocean.
    As the ship bears down on the city Manx contacts him. She tells him that the UN has revoked their charter and to give up his game as he has made his point. He tells her he has to since the Clarion would kill the world. She tells him she doesn't believe that is true. He asks about the crew of the Jason Acorn, she certified an unworthy ship. She tells him he knew better and just took the job for the pay. This upsets him and he lets go of the wheel enough so that he doesn't kill himself, but that the ship clips the city, sending some of it crashing down into the sea.
    The ship limps away as the fires on deck rage on and the smoke pours out of it. Murdoch and Cora kiss then go out on the deck and waltz as the ship sinks.
    Later a female navigator sees a ship burning off in the distance. The navigator calls the captain and it is Cora. Cora tells her she has seen the ship burning and tells her it is the Lilith and it has been burning for 300 years. She tells the story of the Lilith. Some say the captain went down with the ship, but she says he went waltzing, just danced into the flames.

My Review

    No matter how weird and all over and out there this film is there is one thing is isn't - boring. You'll spend much of the time trying to play catch up to figure out what it all means that you'll might need to watch it again to soak it all in. It is like watching the 1979 Alien movie where it is a human crew, but it is in the future and everything is new. There are a bunch of futuristic in-jokes like Chan serving on the Princess Di during the Third Gulf War or taking the Verhouven route (named after the Robocop director Paul Verhouven.) There is talk of bioweapons used in a war by the Texas Confederacy and that Disney is so powerful that it is part of the UN. Yet there is all this futuristic equipment, but they still use supertankers to haul things around!
    Nothing is totally explained either, it is just left to us to figure it out. The one thing I couldn't totally figure out is Baby, though I have a certain theory. In Star Wars droids are wired into ships to make repairs, navigate and talk to the computers. I see baby in the same capacity. This explains the function, but not the whole thing. How does a baby gain intelligence anyway? How is it able to converse even if it is hard wired into the ship? How does it survive? How does it feed? Why doesn't it grow older? Why a baby in the first place? Is it a real baby or genetically made?! I wish there was a novel or a making of segment on the DVD that explained it.
    I have to admit even with the low production value and cheesy miniature boat sequences this is a really good film. If you accept the fact that they set out to make a good B-movie and not the next Blade Runner you will pleased. The story is totally original and after you understand what is going on it is really cool. Even better is Malcolm is the star, the main character AND a good guy for a change. Malcolm plays the roll pretty low key - no over the top performances. He is subtle when he needs to be, funny when he is drunk and pissed off when called for. It is a good solid performance with lots of depth.
    A little more history would've been better though. It is interesting that we don't even know Murdoch's real name! We are just thrown into this world which seems normal at first, but gets more and more futuristic as time goes by. The movie does shift into a Predator rip-off for a while when the cyborg is reactivated. It is an alien hunter who doesn't speak, hunts by infrared and cannot be stopped. They spice it up a little bit by having a female dancer play the assassin so she slinks around instead of having overwhelming power.
    The other really weird unexplained thing is Cora. Who is she? Is she a mermaid? A ghost who helps out doomed ships? It seems she has been kicking around for more than 600 years by the time the film is over even though she looks 30. How does she have all these supernatural powers? How is there an open hole in the deck near the bridge that leads into the water? Pretty convenient that the ship doesn't sink because of it. Besides that and Baby everything else is easy to explain.
    There is a lot going on when you look at it - a doomed ship, a disgraced captain, an officer sent to die, a doomed crew, cargo manned by prisoners, an attacking Nigerian stealth plane, a bad storm, a computerized fetus, a female cyborg assassin, a bomb plot, a bioweapon, a ghost ship, a supernatural sailor, a plague, double crosses, leaks, fires, a ship crashing into an offshore rig, a rat attack, an attempted mutiny and it's all summed up by waltzing on a sinking ship. You certainly get your monies worth with this one.

Rating 8/10

Together Before

1990 - Malcolm and Michael Pare were both in Moon 44.
1994 - Malcolm and Gwynyth Walsh were both in Star Trek: Generations.

This page © 2001-08 Alex D. Thrawn for www.MalcolmMcDowell.net