Just in time for summer: dive into THE DEEP HOUSE
I grew up on a lake that was created by flooding abandoned towns, and so we had our share of urban legends about the lake and what lie beneath. When someone on Insta posted about the 2021 movie The Deep House (2021, 1 hour/25mins), I couldn’t resist.
This movie is French-made, but is in English, so no, you won’t be reading subtitles unless you have the CC on.
*MOSTLY SPOILER-FREE – ONLY REFERENCES ARE TO THINGS THAT CAN BE SEEN IN THE TRAILER*
This movie is definitely in my wheelhouse and has echoes of my short story, “Rightfully Mine,” which I wrote back in 2016 and was published in Sanitarium #49 here, in the same year (and although I promise a spoiler-free review, one of the spectral beings totally looks like the woman in my story, at least she does the way I pictured her in my head). I can’t recommend this enough—The Deep House gets high marks for its unique underwater abandoned setting, its finely crafted blend of folk horror and Lovecraftian elements, and its disturbing imagery.
Right out of the gate, if you love abandoned places and/or urban exploring (in real world or from your armchair), this is not to be missed. I can pretty much guarantee no matter how many abandoned-set movies you’ve seen? You’ve never seen anything like this. The underwater landscape is spectacular, and the assemblage of the contents of the house is pure eye candy. In addition? You get to see like every. Room. No skimping here–and yet the pacing moves at a great clip because the right items are where they’re supposed to be. This is one that you’ll go back and pause just to get a detailed look at the setting—and please do, so all of the work that was put in doesn’t go to waste. This was clearly made for those of us who love abandoned places, and is a fine attempt at taking us to locations that either A/don’t really exist or B/many of us wouldn’t get to go. If you love this abandoned stuff, you won’t be able to stop staring with your mouth hanging open. This is great. Shit.
A blend of traditional filmmaking and found footage, what blows my mind is the effort it must’ve taken to film this. Every movie has its challenges, but this must’ve been a bear (filming underwater is no picnic to begin with, as I understand it). The abandoned home is so gorgeously rendered, every prop and piece of wallpaper and carpet so accurately weathered/distressed (or not, to reflect the presence of the supernatural, but only very specific items) and perfectly placed to work within the context of the story, I can only imagine the literal thousands of hours it must’ve taken to pull this off. I HAVE PASSION FOR THIS PROJECT is written quite plainly all over this. This was a labor of love; no detail was missed. If these were filmed on separate sets in separate tanks—everything also moves naturally as it would underwater, so if this was all CGI or dry-for-wet, they completely fooled me—it’s damn near impossible to tell. Our main characters’ meanderings through the home are seamless—and the effect is appropriately claustrophobic.
I can’t talk about the story without wrecking things, so I’ll just say that I found the blend of folk horror and Lovecraftian elements well-blended, direct, and clear. There’s no confusion here, and there easily could’ve been. Clues are well-seeded early on so that everything makes sense later.
The disturbing images are bound to leave a haunting impression. I’d love to go on and on about them, here, but I can’t or I’ll ruin it.
And story-wise? Sure, it has a telegraphed moment here and there, but it’s pretty solid and surpasses many other films I’ve seen in this genre. There’s conflict between the couple on the front end (interestingly subtle but tension-crammed and a little bit different than what we’re used to), solid three-beats, and lanterns relight without fail (but there are so many that are subtly done I missed them initially, and that’s a good thing). There are also a couple of moments in which I thought the story was going one way, and then it went somewhere else.
Tropes? Yes. I’ve also watched more of these movies than I can count, and so I’m fairly confident in saying this: there is no getting away from tropes in this genre. If I couldn’t deal with tropes, I wouldn’t be watching these things in the first place. I highly recommend this if you like abandoned settings, found footage, scuba diving, ghost stories, Lovecraftian tales, folk horror, and toxic relationships.
If you watch this, there’s something after the end credits, so don’t turn it off too soon!
Wanna dive into The Deep House? Watch the trailer here.
You can rent it here on Amazon, and for right now, if you have Prime, it’s free.
If you’d like to read my story “Rightfully Mine” in Sanitarium #49, you can find that here.
And if you’d like to learn more about the urban legends surrounding the lake I grew up on, you can read about those here: http://nehw.blogspot.com/2016/08/legends-of-candlewood-lake-guest-blog.html
Posted on June 3, 2022, in Ghost Stories, Horror Movies, Reviews and tagged found footage movies, ghost stories by Kristi Petersen Schoonover, good found footage movies, legends of Candlewood Lake CT, movies set in abandoned places, movies with scuba divers, new horror movies for summer 2022, Sanitarium Magazine, scary stories about lakes, The Deep House movie reviews, towns buried under Candlewood Lake, urban legends. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.