Brought to us by Anchor Bay Studios and directed by Peter Atencio, The Rig is a classic gore and blood filled tale. Shot on location at a genuine rig in Louisiana, it tells the story of a small but experienced crew left behind in the wake of a tropical storm, preyed on one by one by an elusive monster of the deep. Though often subject to heavy blows from critics, The Rig is in fact exactly what it proposes to be – low budget, blood-filled horror, a unique genre of its own. Though easily confused with the glamourised Hollywood horror productions of today, real earth roots horror is a distinctive genre in its own right, famed for its quirks and originality. Take, for example, the setting itself – an oil rig is the ideal setting for a horror film (grievously under-explored through such a medium), whilst hidden quirks and sub-plots such as that of brotherly rivalry and romance add further unique interest.
Perhaps the most important aspect of a horror film centred on a monster of the ocean is the monster itself and Ateneio’s monsters are indeed detailed, mobile and fitting. Beware of initial assumptions however, as this monster is far from what may be gauged from the artwork, leaning more towards a bipedal creature – though it does incorporate the teeth! Perhaps less common nowadays with the advancement of computer techniques and CGI is that Ateneio’s monster is not computer generated, it is played by a real person. Though this may perhaps suggest a lack of credibility, it does allow the actors themselves to engage much more fully with the creature, allowing for a more genuine performance. The creature itself, however, is given relatively little screen time, suggesting perhaps a lack of faith in its believability on behalf of the crew, yet from what is seen of the monster, it has been given enough detail and intricacy to pass the test.
The actual shooting of the movie itself is deemed, even by its critics, as one of its strong points. The versatile mix of short, snappy shots and long, drawn out scenes manages to create the perfect build-up of tension before attacks as well as adding fear as they occur. As crew members are slowly picked off one by one it feels like the plot is moving in circles slightly as again we see people running down similar looking corridors, putting up little resistance. Yet in these similar deaths and an inability to fight back, this film plays strongly on some of our most human fears, fears essential to such a horror film; whoever we are and whatever we do in our lives, we will all die, and in comparison to many forces, whether real or imagined, we are indeed both weak and defenceless. Thus whilst some may slate the film for certain attributes, it is these which are distinctive of the genre itself, and lend it its unique and captivating properties and give it deeper meaning.
The Rig was shot on location on a real rig in Louisiana, which has since been turned into a museum.