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 Read the rest of this entry
If you’ve been following me on any social media or have read some of my work, you know I have a thing for all things abandoned. On a recent Dark Discussions episode, we reviewed the 2001 film Session 9—it has some small issues, for sure, but you can’t beat the atmosphere; it was shot in the real former Danvers State Hospital in Massachusetts, which today is home to luxury apartments (yes, really).
I decided it might be fun to pull together a list of my favorite movies that are set in abandoned locations. I didn’t include films that have one or two stunning scenes in such places—believe it or not, the animated love fest Happy Feet would rank high on that list, with its most disturbing scene playing out in an abandoned Antarctic whaling station—only films that are almost entirely set in them.
Please note: The only thing these films have been judged on is the quality of the abandoned setting. Check out your favorite review venue if you want more detail on the film’s other aspects before watching.
Session 9 (2001)
An asbestos cleaning crew takes on a big contract at a crumbling, abandoned asylum, not realizing that they’re going to get a lot more than they bargained for when they find cassettes of a patient’s hypnotherapy sessions. Many people consider this one of the most terrifying movies of all time, but I maintain it’s because of the claustrophobic setting. Shot at Danvers State Hospital in Massachusetts (before it was gutted and became Bradlee Danvers Luxury Apartments—check it out here), this is a fine example of how setting is sometimes the biggest player in what makes a movie scary. Watch Session 9
Ghost Ship (2002)
A salvage crew thinks they’ve hit the jackpot when they find a passenger liner that went missing forty years ago—one that had long been rumored to harbor massive treasure. But it also harbors something else: ghosts for sure, but I’m thinking more along the lines of splendid furnishings corroded by four decades worth of exposure to the salt air. For most of us, this is as close as we’ll ever get to exploring a derelict liner. The set is so ably rendered it’s easy to envision the grandeur that must’ve been. Watch Ghost Ship
A filmmaker and his crew go to an abandoned hotel twenty years after Read the rest of this entry