The Rig: A Disaster

the rig poster

2010, Anchor Bay

The Rig (2010) is a cringe-worthy, low-budget thriller about a disaster in the Gulf of Mexico with the IMDB tagline: “In the midst of a tropical storm, the crew of an offshore oil rig must survive the rampage of a creature after invading its undersea habitat.” An awkward self-parody, the film was horrible; it was overacted with a weak story and the whole thing just seemed, well, pointless.  The one redeeming aspect is that it was actually filmed on location at an oil rig off the coast of Louisiana. (NOTE: Thunder Bay (1953)—a much better movie, by the way—was also about offshore Louisiana production.) So, the movie itself is a disaster in the Gulf of Mexico about a disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Despite all that, the movie is actually entertaining in a “this-is-so-bad-it’s-actually-kind-of-fun” awkward sort of way… or maybe I’m just rationalizing how I chose to spend those 90 minutes, which I will never get back.

Despite how painful it was to watch, there were a few notable points along the way.

1. The most interesting thing is the movie’s timing: it was released October 5, 2010, exactly 5.5 months after the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.  And, it wasn’t a publicity stunt, as the movie was filmed in 2009.  I find the timing uncanny, and reminiscent of how China Syndrome (1979) was released so close to when the Three Mile Island incident occurred.

2. The premise itself is also interesting: basically the drillers at the platform violate the underwater habitat of a mysterious, alien-like sea creature when their rotating bit penetrates the ocean floor. It’s as if oilmen rape the environment and nature fights back. That combined with the arrival of a hurricane set the stage for the subsequent gratuitous gore as the creature starts killing almost everyone on the rig.

3. The creature itself is all-black (like crude oil), made of a flammable petroleum-like substance, and looks something like the Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954).

4. There was also a big fire on the rig, a visual cliché of danger typical of oil movies.

5. There was also an almost poignant scene where the father who manages the platform made clear that he didn’t want his daughter to be with an oilman. That scene reminded me of the coal movies where the children don’t want to be coal miners like their dads, but this time it was the other way around.

One additional note: the movie’s producer, James Benson, is an alum of UT Austin.  It all comes back to Texas one way or another.

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