The duo who brought us the wonderful demented INSIDE are back in the horror genre with a watery haunting that may end up in many Top 10 horror lists of 2021….
Just when you thought you had seen everything the haunted house genre had to offer, up steps directing duo Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury who delivered one of 2007’s finest twisted horrors with pregnant scare-fest Inside to show us that there is more depth to the genre yet, even if its below the sea bed!
The ingenious idea of The Deep House is so simple that you question why hasn’t it been done before?. There is something delightful yet creepy when watching divers discover shipwrecks and film their discoveries as I can’t even watch footage of the rapidly decaying and soon to be gone TITANIC, without feeling an eerie and haunting sense of sadness at the disaster.
What we have here is a house, yes you read that right! A house at the bottom of a lake in which two explorers Ben (James Jagger) and his girlfriend Tina (Camille Rowe) discover while trying to boast their viewing figures for their growing YouTube channel that shows their finds of abandoned buildings, a fad that is becoming a growing and popular trend in real life.
Ben, the main go-getter of the partnership has all the right equipment, including a drone that the film puts in much better use than in Adam Wingard’s Blair Witch sequel and is so confident in his own ability, he doesn’t spot the danger signs when a stranger Pierre (Eric Savin) approaches them both to tell them of a unexpected gem just waiting to be discovered at the bottom of Montegnac Manor.
Diving down into the depths of the river, the film starts to choke you with claustrophobic vibes, thanks to the wonderful underwater shots from Jacques Ballard that gives the film the much needed spookiness and artistically that you can only marvel at in the early stages.
The house itself is a wonderful stage to be at in horror. Vast and remote, even before the duo step inside, you get the feeling that something is clearly wrong here, the film achieving a sense of dread even before any haunting takes place. There is even one of the best underwater jump scenes this horror fan has seen since Ben Hooper’s head popped out in Amity Island to scare the crap out of Hooper and Chief Brodie. Yes, its that good!
Once inside, the film cranks up the tension, the strange noises, the fact everything inside looks brand new despite being underwater, from each new area of the house their touches flash on, you wait for something to appear. Why are there scratches on the walls and doors? Why is the drone playing up? What was that noise? Its beautifully staged with the added bonus that the couple having only a hours worth of air in their tank cranking the pressure up in which the film is executing brilliantly.
Its when the film reveals a hidden basement that The Deep House starts to fall into the same traps of many films beforehand. The reveal of what and why may not offer anything new and if this particular house was on dry land then there be many eye rolls from horror fans, but its thanks to its destination that it manages to pull off some stunning sequences which will delight those who love their anxiety horror.
You may have seen a creepy doll in a haunted house before, but have you seen a creepy doll float past you in a haunted house that is underwater? Its those kind of “seen it all before” moments but hey “its different” that makes Bustillo and Maury’s latest effort one of 2021’s most surprising treats, even though the final half does not quite match the spell blinding first…..