Director – Bob Keen
Cast – Craig Fairbrass, Toni Barry, William Marsh, Jennifer Calvert, Robert Firth, Margot Steinberg, Ricco Ross
Release Year – 1995
Reviewed by John of the Dead
My love for creature flicks mixed with a cold boring night lead to my finally giving this a watch and getting it off of my queue after sitting there for about a year or so. Back in “the day” I would pass this film all the time at my local video / rental store but always assumed that it would be a bad film despite it’s cool poster, and it turns out that I was very right about that. The budget is low and so is the filmmaking experience from both writer and director, and it shows in this experience that is not as bad as some make it out to be but is still a pretty bad watch overall despite some cool creature usage.
When a group of heroin smugglers find their boat catching fire they board a seemingly abandoned oil drilling vessel for shelter. Unfortunately for them, their troubles worsen when they learn that the rig is not abandoned but stands as a cover-up for genetic experiments that left the crew decimated by a large creature still on the loose.
I love storylines where criminals with a mission find themselves coming across problems they never foresaw, especially when it involves heinous creatures and a nowhere-to-run scenario (like a ship out at sea). We see all of these elements also used in the much superior late 90s film Deep Rising, which is a film I recommend you watch instead of this one. Writer John Brosnan adapted this screenplay from his very own novel “Slimer”, as he did for Carnosaur a few years earlier, and sadly his screenplay did little to aid the film. While the overall story is cool there is an abundance of poor dialogue and bad storytelling regarding our characters and the mystery behind the experiments going on. He did manage to write in a fair amount of action sequences that involved some sweet-looking creatures, but in the end this story was one that should have been left in Brosnan’s study.
Director Bob Keen did a decent job with this one, giving us great atmosphere and sweet sets that would have been great in setting up good horror but of course the low-budget and low-quality actors kept the film flat. The horror is poorly executed overall, with shotty camerawork and poor usage of the antagonist doctor, however Keen managed to provide good creature carnage that reflected his background in special FX. The look of the creatures was great and most of them were huge (which means more fun) in size, with the only negative feature being that they did not provide good kills despite Keen’s background in FX.
Overall, Proteus is a low-budget mess that despite a cool storyline and good creature action is one that you should avoid. The execution is poor and the writing is just as bad, so just watch Deep Rising instead, OK?