The Deep House
Haunted house stories will never get old for me; I'll pretty much watch any horror movie that possesses a house that is tormented by its past inhabitants. And with a genre that is so full of films with this premise, sometimes writers need that one thing that makes their haunted house stand out from the rest. In Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury's THE DEEP HOUSE (with English screenplay adaptation by Julien David and Rachel Parker), this one little thing is actually a pretty big deal: the house is fully immersed underneath a lake, and both the house and its contents appear the way they were the day the house was washed over. The victims of the hauntings must actually use scuba gear to lower themselves down beneath the waters to explore their isolated and desolate destination; however, it isn't until they are deep within the corridors of the submerged mansion that they realize there are others down there with them... and they are not of the world of the living. Regardless of how you feel about jump scare-heavy horror films or haunted house flicks in general, you've gotta admit that taking these terrifying locations and sinking them to the bottom of the lake makes it just a little bit more interesting than a lot of the other haunting films coming out lately. The real question left to ask is if The Deep House has more to stand on than just a uniquely creative location - and honestly, the film is far from awful, and would actually make for a pretty spooky Saturday night feature. And while its story may not be anything we haven't really seen before, the visuals this film mashes together are enough to keep you on edge for the movies hour and a half runtime. The Deep House will not shatter your perception of these types of horror films but it will, in the very least, entertain you with its pretty chilling and unsettling underwater jump scares.
The Deep House follows young YouTube couple Ben (James Jagger) and Tina (Camille Rowe) who create content out of exploring abandoned, isolated, and unique locations. The couple heard rumors about an unknown, underwater house in a lake and make the trek there, only to find the lake filled with other tourists. Bummed that their great find was everybody's great find, Ben befriends a man who takes the couple on a journey deep into the woods, where he says the couple can find an underwater house... that is still fully intact. Desperate for the footage, Ben convinces Tina to take the plunge into the depths of the lake to explore the hidden treasure... but once they find it and get inside, the property's dirty family history slowly comes to light as the couple swim from room to room, keeping a close eye on the oxygen levels left in their air tanks. But things go from bad to worse as the pair begin to panic when they can't find a way out... as the house doesn't want them to find a way out. Will the YouTubers make it to the surface before their oxygen runs out, or will they succumb to the depths of the lake, forever banished to the underground hell they are seemingly trapped in? Find out in... THE DEEP HOUSE!
If that doesn't sound like a sick premise for a paranormal flick, I don't know what does! After watching the trailer for this, I knew I had to check it out and see if the movie delivers on the hype. In the end, it more or less does a good job of setting up its story, throwing in some wicked jump scares and a pretty sinister twist, but to be honest, I can see why some might be turned off by the films ending. While the ending is far from garbage, I can understand why some audiences would feel as though the destination was not worth the hour and a half trip, and that's fair. However, the ending was no where near bad enough for me to simply write off the rest of the creativity of the film. First off, filming an underwater haunted house film had to be one hell of a challenge - and I'd honestly love to see a little behind the scenes footage of how it was all done. The dark depths of the lake are haunting enough, but being stranded in a house down there, uncovering all of its owners dirty secrets makes it a lot more intense when the objects around you can be affected by the water and you are relying on a tank strapped to your back to keep your lungs filled. So in terms of how the film was executed, I honestly cannot sing anything less than praises. It's creative and it's fucking scary - a match made in hell. But it is in these dark, murky scenes where I can see audiences also striking up issues with the film. There are a lot of shots that go, well, dark. I mean, the film is taking place underwater where the characters are more or less relying on the lights from their drone and their helmets to see anything in front of them. I went in to the film expecting a lot of dark scenes or scenes of very brief footage - and honestly, watching this movie at 4am in the pitch black, these empty shots brought some pretty serious tension to the film that wouldn't have been captured if the scene was bright as day. But I think viewers who don't consider that or who may don't enjoy these point-of-view type movies will enjoy some of the more vacant scenes. But for my middle of the night showing, it was awesome.
The films main stars Rowe and Jagger do a pretty convincing job of being a young couple in love, eager to create and explore. The two are definitely very likeable and do a pretty fantastic job delivering their performances underneath the waters. I'm obviously no movie maker, but it's gotta be a challenge to portray certain emotions and reactions buried beneath the depths of the dark waters. And it feels like both stars did a good job bringing their emotional levels to light while trapped inside the haunted house; Rowe definitely had the bigger challenge with her character Tina already being a very nervous/hesitant girl about the whole thing, but once the paranormal activity starts to kick off down there, she's gotta be able to deliver her sense of fear through all of her scuba gear, and it definitely feels like it was delivered. Jagger has a pretty haunting scene towards the end of the film that totally changes up his characters tone, and while it maybe felt a little cheesy, his performance was still awesome and still brought it. For a movie that literally relies on the acting of just six people to bring its story to life, The Deep House does a killer job doing so. The film's ending is the only thing I could really see viewers being upset about - seeing as it really isn't some big, epic ending with a twist that will blow your mind - but honestly, that's not what I came into this movie for. I wanted to see some awesome underwater paranormal activity with some scary scenes, and The Deep House did just that for me (think Creepshow's Something to Tide You Over). But I totally understand why the films lackluster ending might leave a bad taste in the mouths of viewers. Regardless, I think The Deep House is worthy of your Saturday night movie rental if you've got nothing else really lined up, but definitely take my recommendation and watch this film in the dark - I think that's a gamechanger!