YMMV: The Abyss
- Actor Allusion: Michael Biehn (Coffey) has been bitten on the arm in every James Cameron movie he's been in: This one, The Terminator, and Aliens.
- Anvilicious: If aliens looked at us and saw the Cold War, they'd wipe us out in self-defense. But if they looked and saw The Power of Love... they might let us live anyway. Of course, Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped though.
- Awesome Music: Arguably the best score ever written for a James Cameron movie, Alan Silvestri's stunning orchestra/synthesiser/choral music is widely considered among his finest work.
- Dancing Bear: Possible example. See note on special effects.
- Dueling Movies: Against Deepstar Six and Leviathan.
- Dyeing for Your Art: The cast had to become certified divers before shooting began (as in being put through a course usually reserved for diving INSTRUCTORS). Shooting underwater extensively also required that they also undergo decompression before leaving the set. Ed Harris also sustained injuries on-set significant enough that he nearly had to turn down roles after shooting had wrapped. Not to mention that certain members of the crew, who literally spent close to the entire day underwater, for months, during the shoot, actually had their hair bleached white by the chlorine in the water.
- Enforced Method Acting: One such scene led to Ed Harris decking Cameron after he almost drowned for real. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio got her own bit of that, too, with the resuscitation scene. Cameron kept demanding retakes, meaning she was repeatedly getting her chest pounded on(gently, but still) while soaking wet and half naked. She stormed off the set and wouldn't come back until Cameron agreed to wrap it already. And lest you think this was her being a prima donna, she stormed off specifically because they had actually run out of film stock shooting the many re-takes, and Cameron still wasn't happy.
- Jerkass Woobie: Lt. Coffey wasn't exactly a nice guy to begin with, hell, he even mocks Lindsay when she tries to inform the troop about how High Pressure Nervous Syndrome, but there are times when it becomes clear how severe his condition is and he becomes a very pitiable man because of that.
- Karma Houdini: It could be argued that the aliens fall into this, as they (probably accidentally) cause the crew of the nuclear sub to die, and are never called on it
"THE CRANE! WE LOST THE CRANE! IT'S ON ITS WAY DOWN TO YOU!"
- Porting Disaster: The UK DVD release is non-anamorphic. This means that on many TV/player combinations by default it displays in the correct aspect ratio, but with a huge black border around the whole picture. This is annoying if your system does not have a zoom feature.
- Squick: Coffey cutting rank chevrons into his arm with a K-Bar.
- Stop Helping Me!: When Lindsey is trying to get the rest of the crew to believe her about the underwater aliens, resident conspiracy nut Hippy goes into his usual Conspiracy Kitchen Sink speech. This results in a zinger:
"Hippy, do me a favor? Stay off my side."
- Strawman Has a Point: Coffey mutters, "It went straight for the warhead, and they think it's cute." In other words, just because it's not Russian doesn't mean it's safe, especially if said aliens have a Blue and Orange Morality.
- Troubled Production: Helped by extensive underwater shooting, with several people nearly getting drowned (including James Cameron and Ed Harris - who punched Cameron in the face in response!). And since History Repeats, a few years later Cameron worked again in a movie filled with water and had a terrible time doing so.
- Type Casting: Michael Biehn, as an intense military type.
- Visual Effects of Awesome: Dream Quest Images, Industrial Light and Magic (the pseudopod), Steve Johnson's XFX (the creature effects) and Fantasy II Film Effects (the climactic spire rising sequence), take a bow. And an Oscar.