The Deep House (2021)

Ben and Tina are a young couple from New York, who have a YouTube channel where they are traveling to supposedly haunted houses in Europe while recording their experiences. These urban explorers decides to travel to south-west France in order to seek out a sanatorium that is submerged in an artificial lake, in hopes of getting more likes, views and followers…but upon their arrival to the place they find it crowded with people as it proves to be a popular vacation spot. Not sure exactly what to do next, they meet a local called Pierre, who offers to take them to another place of the lake where he claims that a mansion is located under the water, perfectly preserved and ready to be explored.

 

And so they head along with Pierre, who leads them to the place (which is a fair bit of both driving and walking). Putting in their diving gear and submerging into the lake, they first find some stairs which soon leads to the eerie house. Entering the place through a window on the upper floor, they are both baffled at how well preserved everything seems to be…and they soon find that their presence inside the house awakens something else there.

 

When the French horror duo Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury have teamed up for another horror movie, we’re ready to watch. While their Leatherface movie from 2017 wasn’t much to write home about, they have released earlier gems like Inside, Livid and Among the Living. And a haunted house underwater? Well, that did indeed sound interesting enough to check out!

 

While this movie did sound suspiciously similar to Josh Malerman’s novel A House at the bottom of a Lake, they are quite different despite sharing a similar premise. While Malerman’s novel was initially more a story about the characters themselves, The Deep House is a full-fledged haunted house story. And it does feel exciting and atmospheric during the first half, when they first enter the underwater building and start exploring. Filming underwater can be quite tricky indeed, but the movie has some excellent underwater shots that are really good. Technically and visually the movie shines, there’s no doubt about that.

 

When the supernatural stuff starts happening, it does unfortunately go downhill and it feels like the story pretty much runs out of oxygen (pun intended). While there are some creepy scenes and nice ideas, especially with what they find in the basement, things are getting a bit too jumbled from thereon and everything turns into a cat ‘n mouse game with what is, ultimately, some not-so scary ghosts. We do, at least, get some explanation for the house’s past and the people who lived there, but it’s a little too vague to make any proper impact, and I wish we could have gotten a bit more flesh on the background story of the house and its inhabitants.

 

Overall, The Deep House starts off very promising but falls a little flat once the supernatural events take place, not really being able to keep a tight grip on the preliminary dread one could feel during the first moments of the film. It’s still okay to watch and a little bit different, but not on par with some of the French duo’s earlier achievements.

 

The Deep House The Deep House The Deep House

 

Directors: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury
Country & year: France, Belgium, 2021
Actors: Camille Rowe, James Jagger, Eric Savin, Alexis Servaes, Anne Claessens, Carolina Massey, Marie Caffier, Marie Bernard
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt11686490/

 

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside (2007)

InsideInside, or À l’intérieur as it is called in the original language, is one of the most tasty delicacies of a slasher that has come after the turn of the millennium, directed by the duo Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury. Inside was one of the first in the so-called New French Extremity-wave with, among others such as, Alexandre Aja’s  Haute Tension a few years back, and Xavier Gens´ Frontier (s ), which came the same year as this one. Already the following year, Pascal Laugier pushed the strings even further with Martyrs. So yeah, the 2000’s  was an exciting time for French horror films that flourished new, young, hungry talents while the stiff bureaucrats at the censorship board probably was on a permanent vacation.

 

The film begins with an ugly front-to-front car accident with the pregnant Sarah and her husband. The husband dies while Sarah survives. Four months later, exactly on Christmas Eve, Sarah is depressed and just wants to be all alone in her big house with her nine month-pregnant belly. But the peace and silence turns 180 degrees when Sarah unexpectedly gets a visitor at the door: an intimidating and tall black-dressed woman who just wants to borrow the phone – who by coincidence knows Sarah’s name and that her husband is dead. Sarah calls the police when the woman starts to get threatening, but it does not stop her so easily and her mission is crystal clear: she wants to murder Sarah and anyone who comes in her way, with unclear motives.

 

So, we’re clearly talking about a home invasion-film here with a small budget and limited use of location.  It’s however a highly steady technical and gruesome film with some pretty insane killing scenes and is basically a love-letter to gorehounds, more or less. The acting is also a major plus, which gives some really strong and convincing performances. I especially have to point out Beatrice Dalle, which  is pretty relentless and goes all up to eleven in a rollercoaster-ride of  psychotic rage attacks I haven’t seen in a female killer probably outside of Asian movies.

 

The atmosphere is slicey-thick and some of the scenes are downright creepy, especially the first shot where we see the killer inside the house while Sarah is sleeping on the couch. It’s got a slow and subtle build-up which plays with your emotions and expectations. But when all hell breaks loose, it’s non-stop carnage, mayhem and pure slaughter house to the last second where we get the pleasure to witness some first class prosthetic effects and brutal kills, some of which are so realistic and so well done that it’s painful to watch in some places. The only minus here is the CGI images of Sarah’s baby in her womb that didn’t look convincing back in 2007, and surely doesn’t look any better now. But besides of that, Inside is a solid film and even after 10-plus years after its release, it’s still the nastiest slasher  I’ve ever witnessed, and I still wouldn’t recommend this to anyone who’s pregnant.

 

For a complete uncut version of the film, look for the DVD release from Dimension Extreme. And don’t let yourself get scared away from the awful trailer, by the way..

 

Inside

 

Directors: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury
Orignial title: À l’intérieur
Country & year: France, 2007
Actors: Alysson Paradis, Jean-Baptiste Tabourin, Claude Lulé, Dominique Frot, Nathalie Roussel, François-Régis Marchasson, Béatrice Dalle, Hyam Zaytoun, Tahar Rahim, Emmanuel Guez, Ludovic Berthillot, Emmanuel Lanzi, Nicolas Duvauchelle
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0856288/

 

Tom Ghoul