The crew of an experimental, high-tech submersible is called into action to investigate a mysterious nuclear submarine crash. A series of strange encounters leads the crew to suspect the accident was caused by an extraterrestrial craft, and that they may be participating in an encounter with an alien species.
However, in order to make contact, they must not only brave the abyss, an exceedingly deep underwater canyon, but also deal with the violent actions of one of their own crew members, an increasingly paranoid Navy SEAL officer.
Approved by director James Cameron, The Abyss: Special Edition is an extended director's cut of the 1989 underwater science fiction epic, reinstating nearly a half hour of footage removed from the original release under studio pressure.
Much of the restored footage places the film's events in a grander political context, as the crew's mission becomes a factor in the dangerous escalation of nuclear tension between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
The largest change involves the film's ending, which provides further information on the aliens' mission on Earth, bringing the film to closer to Cameron's intention: a modern remake of Robert Wise's The Day the Earth Stood Still.