2009 / Director. Anthony Waller.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
I promised myself that I would never watch NINE MILES DOWN so long as Everett De Roche was alive. He wrote the original screenplay and several attempts were made to film it. In fact John Carpenter was attached during the 90s but left to make ESCAPE FROM LA. The script was originally set in Australia but when it was sold to Anthony Waller, Everett was cut out of the project and the story was dramatically rewritten and relocated to the Sahara. The end product barely resembles Everett's original script (according to him) and when I asked him about the film, he felt deeply hurt by the while debacle. I made up my mind that I would not go near it so long as he lived. Sadly he passed away earlier this year and while I had no intentions of finding NINE MILES DOWN I came across a blu-ray copy for $4 in a store's bargain bin. I grabbed it and tonight I watched it. The story takes place on a remote drilling rig in the middle of the Sahara. Adrian Paul plays a security officer sent to check up on the staff when they fail to make contact. He arrives to find the place practically deserted, all dead aside from one female biologist. She reveals that the site had been taken over by a corporate research team who were intent on drilling deeper into the Earth than had ever been done before. Naturally they tapped into something evil and the crew killed each other following violent premonitions and visions. Yawn. Yes we've seen it all before. The story combines the location qualities of THE THING and explores themes similar to EVENT HORIZON and is a mirror image of SOMETIMES THEY COME BACK FOR MORE. I wish I could read Everett's original script because he was never one to succumb to cliche or generic formula. No wonder he felt screwed-over by Waller's involvement. Looking at NINE MILES DOWN without bias I do think that it's a good looking film. Waller has captured a stylish and effective atmosphere, although very routine and derivative. The score is far too overblown and tacky and the sound design goes for the cheap frights... I'm not a fan of director Anthony Waller and I think most people still hate him for AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN PARIS. I can certainly pay him some kudos for his visual flare, however his butchering of the story is clearly to the movie's detriment. There's loads of potential and having it set in Australia SHOULD have been the first point of order. It's a shame that Everett couldn't have his name removed from this one. It is NOT something he should be associated with.