In their 3 Bloody Knife review, E. L. King calls The Deep House a claustrophoic acquatic horror experience that blends the supernatural with elements of eco-horror and the occult that one might not expect from a found-footage style film.
Crafting a unique horror film isn't easily done these days. However, writers and directors Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury have managed to create a level of tension that leaves you gasping for air and not just because our protagonists are underwater. The Deep House is a claustrophoic acquatic horror experience that blends the supernatural with elements of eco-horror and the occult that one might not expect from a found-footage film. A deep-seated fascination with the exploration of creepy, haunted and abandoned spaces is what pulled me into the film to begin with.
The Deep House stars Camille Rowe (Cosmic Dawn) as Tina and James Jagger (Sound of Violence) as Ben. The couple are a pair of YouTubers who explore abandoned sites for their channel. The film opens with the couple exploring an abondoned hospital in the Ukraine whre a nurse is rumored to have poisoned seven children before ending her own life. Our of morbid curiosity, we uncovered an interesting true crime case while researching if the backstory in the film's first act was fabricated. The case we found was the Angel Makers of Nagyrév, a group of women living in the village of Nagyrév, Hungary who between 1914 and 1929 poisoned to death an estimated 40 people, but were unable to uncover a story in Ukraine similar to that referenced in the film.
Ghost hunting seems to be at the heart of Ben and Tina's passion for exploration. Tina, however is a less than enthusiastic adventurer and less concerned about clicks and views than her counterpart. The Deep House mirrors the social commentary of Brandon Christensen's Superhost (2021) and the cautionary tale that is our societal obession with social media.
"Let's just be tourists for the day."
The couple journey to France intending to explore submerged houses at the bottom of a lake near a small town, but are disheartened to discover that the lake has become a tourist attraction. Tina recommends that they enjoy the vacation and take a day off to explore as tourists without creating content, but instead, Ben befriends a local man named Pierre to take them on an ill-fated adventuring opportunity for a deep water dive. Pierre claims to know the location of a fully intact submerged house at a secluded side of the lake that is located deep within the backwoods. Once inside, they awaken a sinister evil within the house, finding themselves trapped and desperate to escape before it becomes their watery tomb.
The Deep House isn't particularly scary and a lot about it doesn't work. The narrative gets particularly soggy in the second act. While it provides a rather eerie and anxeity ridden atmostphere, it misses the mark with it's dialog and performances. Trying to weave the supernatural and occult in to up-the-ante was aspirational, but unnesscary and further diluted what began as a strong narrative. The real horror of being trapped underwater with no resources, your air running low and corpses in a torture chamber was more than enough.
Flooded towns whether created by natural disasters or deliberately to create dams are some of the creepiest abandoned locations. They've been reclaimed by nature, left to decay, with only the echo of the lives that once resided in them remaining. While the plot is a bit thin, the film is worth watching for the beautiful underwater cinematography that fuels the unsettling and claustrophobic tone of The Deep House. The innovative haunting concept is exciting, but sadly this film doesn't quite deliver the thrill of being trapped in a haunted house that it should.
The Deep House is streaming on Epix and available on VOD.