100

Rolling Stone

By Peter Travers
Stupendously exciting and emotionally engulfing... With probing intelligence and passionate feeling, Cameron has raised the adventure film very close to the level of art.
Full Review
80

Washington Post

By Desson Thomson
Before this voyage plummets into Stevie Spielberg's locker, the human stuff is more than worth the descent.
Full Review
75

Chicago Tribune

By Dave Kehr
The Abyss is at its best during such moments of reverie-when the abstract metaphors and the unique physicality of the deep sea setting come together to produce powerful, unvoiced meanings. The film does have its beckoning depths; what it needs is a more polished surface. [9 Aug 1989, Tempo, p.1]
Full Review
75

San Francisco Chronicle

By Mick LaSalle
Both Mastrantonio and Harris are terrific, never missing a beat, always convincing, even when playing the most extreme emotions. [9 Aug 1989, Daily Datebook, p.E1]
Full Review
75

USA Today

By Mike Clark
If you end up cursing, try not to forget The Abyss' spectacular oil-rig collapse, a killer chase scene, two fine leads, and one Oscar-worthy "creature'' special effect midway through. Do forget the rest - unless you really dig Casper, the Friendly Ghost. [9 Aug 1989, Life, p.1D]
Full Review
75

Entertainment Weekly

The Abyss ends with a whimper. But it starts out with a bang that lasts for an exciting hour and a half. And that's enough to make it worth taking the plunge.
Full Review
70

Variety

A firstrate underwater suspenser with an otherworldly twist, The Abyss suffers from a payoff unworthy of its buildup.
Full Review
60

Empire

By Kim Newman
Weirdly, the film’s problem is that it revs up the tension so much that, like one character’s submersible sinking into the high pressure of the titular Abyss, it finally bursts. The climax – as Bud descends to defuse the nuke and meet the aliens – just doesn’t work.
Full Review
50

TV Guide

It lacks the emotional impact and suspense of its predecessors and is spoiled by a disappointingly inane ending. What ultimately saves the film are its extraordinary sets and phenomenal Oscar-winning visual effects.
Full Review
38

Christian Science Monitor

By David Sterritt
The Abyss' isn't abysmal, but it's a replay of hits we've already seen - a recycled "close encounters of the wet kind'' with far too few ideas of its own. [18 Aug 1989, Arts, p.10]
Full Review
62 out of 100
Generally favorable reviews
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.