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The Deep House (2021) – Review: An Ambitious Horror Film That Features an Underwater Haunted House

November 10, 2021

Quick Thoughts: Grade – C+ – The Deep House is an ambitious and silly horror movie that goes to extreme depths to entertain. Directing duo Alexandre Bustill and Julien Maury (Inside, Livid, Leatherface) deserve credit for the inspired idea, and insistence on filming the movie in massive water tanks, which add to the atmosphere and believability. 

In a horror landscape that’s loaded with sequels, remakes, prequels, reboots, ripoffs, and the same ideas (which is nothing new, and is to be expected) it’s always nice when you see a movie synopsis that reads “A couple enters the interior of a strange house located at the bottom of a lake and their presence awakens a dark spirit that haunts the house.” When David Cross, of the Award Wieners Movie Review Podcast put this film on my radar, it felt like Christmas, and this is the perfect horror film gift, as it combines ghosts, underwater shenanigans, and an element of claustrophobia inside the underwater haunted house. Bustill and Maury hired famed underwater cinematographer Jacques Ballard (Deep, Beyonce’s Run the World (Girls)), to film the ghost story, and it paid off, as it’s a good looking film that’s a tiny bit too clean, as the tanks they filmed in don’t necessarily capture the murky water of a lake. It’s totally understandable why they shot in water tanks, as they had more freedom to build sets, and it’s much safer than shooting outside where weather, waves, water temperature, and random tourists can be a problem.

The film focuses on Ben (James Jagger), and Tina (Camilla Rowe), a couple of internet influencers who visit haunted locations, and film the experience for their small but growing audience. After one of their locations is a bust, they find themselves investigating a submerged house in an isolated area of a lake that on normal circumstances should be avoided at all costs. The two arrive at the location via a creepy guy who undoubtedly is up to no good, and they proceed to dive deep down to film the surprisingly well-maintained house of horrors. It would be a shame to spoil anything, just know that there are ghosts (free divers were hired to play the ghosts, which is cool), scary corridors, and several jump scares involving fish. 

The production design by Hubert Pouille (Mandy – watch it now) is inspired, and he’s created a labyrinthian home full of creepy props, ominous chains, and chimneys that will 100% collapse when people swim in them. It must’ve been a beast to create the sets, as wallpaper, paint and props needed to endure a long shoot underwater, and not fall apart or make the tank water murky. Overall, it’s a fine production that’s light on story, and heavy on “Hey, that’s impressive how they filmed that” moments. Camilla Rowe proves herself to be a likable screen presence, and she’s much more agreeable than James Jagger, who has to play a sulky influencer who complains incessantly about his followers. Overall, they aren’t given much to do, and that hurts the overall proceedings because there is zero emotional attachment to the pair of ghost chum. 

What makes the 84-minute film worth watching is that it’s something new and inspired. The scares aren’t there, the characters aren’t exactly likable, but, it’s AN UNDERWATER GHOST STORY! If you are a fan of the horror genre, you’ll enjoy the new concept.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 11, 2021 1:44 pm

    Thanks for the review, which has enticed me to watch this one. When I heard about it I thought it would be so bad it would become a cult classic, so I was going to wait 30 years to watch it so I’d enjoy it. But this doesn’t seem to be the case, and I’m genuinely curious to see how this underwater haunted house works out.

    • November 11, 2021 3:41 pm

      The story isn’t exactly good. But, I love how it was made. That makes it worth it. Also, it’s so short, doesn’t waste much time.

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