Review: The Deep House
- Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo have created an excellent underwater horror film that is also a marvellous technical achievement
"He who sleeps eternally is not dead". Thus goes an old local saying whispered byof divers, explorers and YouTubers Tina and Ben, the two protagonists of The Deep House [+see also:
film profile], the new very good film (in English) from French duo Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury (Inside [+see also:
film profile], Among the Living [+see also:
film profile]), released on Wednesday 30 June in French cinemas by Apollo Films.
"He loves ruins and walking around them". Passionate about urbex (urban exploration), facetious go-getter Ben (James Jagger) drags his girlfriend Tina (Camille Rowe), a marginally more fearful person, in his discovery missions which they both film with their dozen cameras and their drone, to broadcast them on social media. This hobby leads them into disturbing abandoned buildings (such as the only from the film’s prologue), often with their own sinister reputation. But their next goal is out of the ordinary (Ben wants to break their own record of 50,000 views on YouTube): dive into the depths of a lake where a village was evacuated and submerged 50 years earlier during the construction of a dam. Announced as hyper secretive, this location in the South-West of France turns out to be a very disappointing leisure centre where all the underwater houses are said to be rotten. But a local tells our two heroes that he knows the way to a place, deep in the forest, which “has no name and isn’t on any map” and where they’re be able to dive and find a house in pristine condition 50m underwater: "follow the steps". Ben and Tina have 60 minutes worth of oxygen and a lot more (bad) things coming…
"Everything is strange under water." Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury capitalise perfectly on the atmospheric resources of their underwater universe by playing with depth of field, darkness, the light from torches (Jacques Ballard’s remarkable work as director of photography is worth pointing out), the audio exchanges between the two protagonists, the space out of frame, the video footage from the drone sent ahead to check out the various floors and rooms of the barricaded house, etc. The film progresses in stages, from subtle worries to growing anxieties, until it finally tilts into classical horror fare, in a masterfully assembled whole that will satisfy both horror fans and other cinephiles curious about the experience of a dangerous exploration in a haunted house underwater.
(Translated from French)
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