The Rift (1990)

The RiftNATO sends out a crew in order to find out what happened to their missing submarine, the Siren I. For this, they use the experimental submarine the Siren II, and along with this crew the designer of the sub is amongst them. He finds that the corporation who had the submarine built, Contek, has made several modifications to the original design. He is not very happy about this, and the mood is already a bit strained and a lot of things definitely feels a bit off with the whole mission. When they get signals from Siren I‘s black box, they are led to an underwater rift that is full of toxic weed, something the on-board scientist points out should have been impossible since there shouldn’t be any plant life at this depth. Of course, they find out that Contek and Siren I had a lot of secrets, and the full truth of their mission is yet to be revealed to them.

 

The Rift (aka Endless Descent) is a B-horror movie from 1990, directed by Juan Piquer Simón who also directed movies like Pieces (1982) and Slugs (1988). There were a lot of underwater horror and thriller movies released around this time, most notably The Abyss from 1989, which was also one of the very few of these that became a box-office hit. Of course, like with many prior movie successes, there will always be those who try to jump on the bandwagon in hopes of traveling along with the popularity. The results are often a blend of meh-movies and some true B-horror schlock, in which the latter often deserves their own little spot here in the crypt of the Horror Ghouls.

 

Sure, the plot if somewhat threadbare and slightly silly, but the acting is overall decent enough for a movie like this, with Ray Wise having one of his more typical roles. The effects aren’t that bad either for an obvious low budget, and even though there isn’t an abundance of blood and gore, the death scenes are often vicious enough. While the movie starts off a little slow and sluggish, barely threading the water it’s supposed to dive into, it does start offering up some more intensity and surprises as we go along. There are at least some deep sea atrocities to set your eyes on here, including some giant killer seaweed, although the best creature feature parts are saved for the final scenes of the movie.

 

The Rift has its fair share of brutality, and serves up some amusing underwater sci-fi schlock. While it isn’t a movie that’s crazy enough to be especially funny, it is at least an okay popcorn-flick. Overall an average B-Horror movie, not great but entertaining enough.

 

The Rift

 

Director: Juan Piquer Simón
Writers: Juan Piquer Simón, Mark Klein, David Coleman
Country & year: Spain, USA, 1990
Actors: Jack Scalia, R. Lee Ermey, Ray Wise, Deborah Adair, John Toles-Bey, Ely Pouget, Emilio Linder, Tony Isbert, Álvaro Labra, Luis Lorenzo, Frank Braña, Pocholo Martínez-Bordiú
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099701/

 

 

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Triangle (2009)

TriangleJess is preparing to take her autistic son Tommy on a boat trip with her friend Greg, and while getting both her and her son ready the doorbell suddenly rings. No one is on the other side. Later, Jess drives to Florida and meets up with Greg at the harbor. She arrives without Tommy, and explains that he is at his special needs school. They board the boat, together with Greg’s friends Sally, Downey and Heather. Soon afterwards, a storm is approaching and Greg picks up a distress signal from a woman pleading for help. She says she’s in danger as someone is killing off the crew members on the boat she’s on, but before this woman can complete the conversation Greg’s boat capsizes. The survivors then boards a passing ocean liner, which appears to be deserted, but they saw the silhouette of someone apparently ignoring their pleas for help when wanting to board the ship. Jess gets an uncomfortable feeling of déja vu when exploring the ship, and after discovering her own keys near a display case for the ship, which is named Aeolus, a lot of strange things start happening. Jess finds that she is stuck in a time-loop that keeps repeating itself, and she must try to figure out a way to break it.

 

Triangle is a psychological horror film from 2009, written and directed by Christopher Smith whose directorial debut was Creep (2004). The film is partly based on the story of Sisyphus, a Greek mythological figure cursed to repeatedly push a boulder up a hill without ever reaching the top. He was also inspired by Dead of Night (1945) and Memento (2000). The movie was filmed on sets and location in Queensland, Australia. It received favorable reviews upon its release, both from critics and audience, but still grossed only $1.3-1.6 million worldwide on a budget of $12 million. Ouch. But it also didn’t have a theatrical release in the US.

 

While Groundhog-day horror movies where time-loops keep the protagonists struggling with figuring out how to break them is nothing new, and some of them take on a more lighthearted variant like for example Happy Death Day. This movie on the other hand keeps everything considerably more dark and mysterious. Triangle is like a puzzle of pieces which start fitting together one by one, and small details which previously might have seemed insignificant proves to tie things together. What makes the movie even more effective is how the protagonist, Jess, keeps trying literally everything in order to break the loop, and while both she and the viewers think “aha, now she’s on to something!” we suddenly see that she’s already tried that exact same thing dozens of times in earlier loops. There is very little predictability here, and keeps you guessing throughout, making it a very entertaining watch.

 

On the whole, Triangle is a fun and thrilling time-loop horror movie, and despite having a conclusion that some might find a bit inadequate, it still ends up as a satisfactory ride.

 

Triangle

 

Writer and director: Christopher Smith
Country & year: UK, Australia, 2009
Actors: Melissa George, Joshua McIvor, Jack Taylor, Michael Dorman, Henry Nixon, Rachael Carpani, Emma Lung, Liam Hemsworth, Bryan Probets
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1187064/

 

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Below (2002)

BelowIt is 1943, and the USS Tiger Shark, a U.S. Navy submarine, patrols the Atlantic Ocean during World War II. They suddenly get orders to pick up survivors drifting in the sea, and they end up rescuing a British Nurse (Claire Paige) and two wounded men. They tell the crew that they were aboard the hospital ship Fort James, which was sunk two days earlier from a torpedo hit. Tension starts to arise when the crew of the submarine finds out that one of the wounded men is a German prisoner of war, ending up shooting him, much to Claire’s dismay as he was his patient. A German destroyer also approaches them, and the submarine ends up suffering damage from depth charges. However, that’s not all that’s wrong here, and both the crew and Claire becomes aware of strange supernatural happenings on the submarine. Claire also finds the captain’s journal, where she notices missing pages and a different handwriting in the latest pages. She’s told a story about the death of the former captain, which comes off as somewhat unconvincing. What has happened on the submarine, and why does it appear to be haunted?

 

Below is a supernatural horror film from 2002, directed by David Twohy (known for directing Pitch Black and several of the Riddick movies) and written by Darren Aronofsky (director of Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan). It was originally intended to be a historical sci-fi thriller, but after the success with Pitch Black the director decided to go for a horror film instead. It was shot on location in Lake Michigan for the exteriors, using the World War II-era U.S. Navy submarine USS Silversides, and at Pinewood Studios. Miramax/Dimension Films wanted Twohy to edit the film so it could get a PG-13 rating instead of an R, but he refused, which ended up giving the film a limited theatrical release with very little advertising. It also flopped tragically, not only due to limited release and lack of advertisement, but also due to rather mixed reviews.

 

Now, your typical “haunted house” has been changed into different settings before, and the claustrophobic narrative of having it set in a submarine during World War II is definitely effective. The atmosphere is tight and creepy, nailing the mood while showing off just enough of the spooky stuff to keep it chilling. The supernatural effects and scenes are very subtle, and everything plays more around how the characters are spooked by it while also becoming slowly aware of its hold over them. Much of it is embraced with uncertainty and keeping you guessing.

 

Much like in Twohy’s Pitch Black, much of the story is carried on by the characters and the tension between them. You already realize from the first minutes of the film that some of the characters are a bit off, and are definitely hiding something. We just don’t know what, but their reactions to the supernatural events makes it easy to guess that something awful happened which they do not want to come to the surface. Much due to the underwater scenes and the submarine interior the atmosphere gets just right, clammy and stifling filled with apprehension.

 

Below is an underwater chiller that is actually quite decent, with its claustrophobic environment and the rising tension between the crew as the supernatural events enfold, all building up to a reveal and somewhat poetic ending.

 

Below Below

 

Director: David Twohy
Writers: Lucas Sussman, Darren Aronofsky, David Twohy
Country & year: UK, US, 2002
Actors: Matthew Davis, Bruce Greenwood, Holt McCallany, Dexter Fletcher, Nick Chinlund, Olivia Williams, Scott Foley, Andrew Howard, Christopher Fairbank, Chuck Ellsworth, Crispin Layfield
IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0276816/

 

 

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Virus (1999)

VirusA Russian research vessel, Volkov, is out in the South Pacific and communicates with the orbiting space station Mir. Suddenly, some kind of energy source from space hits the space station, kills the cosmonauts and sends beams down to Volkov, causing an electrical surge that invades the ship’s computer and causes chaos and destruction. A week later, the alcoholic captain Robert Everton (Donald Sutherland) is out with his crew on the tugboat Sea Star in terrible weather, and ends up losing the cargo. Which is uninsured, of course. Matters go from bad to worse when they discover that the engine room is taking in water, and they try to take refuge in the eye of the storm to make repairs. Then, Volkov appears on their radar, like an ominous ghost ship out of nowhere. Of course, the captain knows the ship and its possible worth, and he orders the crew aboard as the tempting thought of millions in salvage could turn this horrible day into a splendid one.

 

When they get on board they notice that most of the electronics have been destroyed, and the crew appears to be missing. There’s something else lurking onboard, however…a robotic, spider-like creature appear and kills one of them, and they meet a terrified woman who later proves to be Nadia Vinogravoda, the Chief Science Officer on the ship, and she desperately tries to prevent them from turning on the ship’s power. At first they refuse to listen to any of the gibberish nonsense she is telling them, but when a gun-wielding cyborg appears that is supposedly one of the missing crew members on Volkov, they realize that what Nadia tells them is true, and something out of this world has taken over the ship with the intention of killing what it thinks is a “virus” in this world. In other words: kill mankind.

 

Virus is a science fiction horror movie from 1999, directed by John Bruno and starring a fair share of well-known faces. Despite high competence in visual effects and some famous actors, the movie turned out to be a flop and failed to appease both critics and moviegoers, and with a budget of 75 million dollars the box office ended up with a measly 30.7 million dollars. Ouch. A bunch of merchandise was also created, including action figures, comics, and a survival horror video game called Virus: It is Aware by Cryo Interactive made for the Sony Playstation. Just like the movie, however, the reception was rather poor and caused the game to fall into obscurity. Flop after flop, in other words. Over time, however, the movie has gained a bit of a cult following. Despite the rough reception, it is in hindsight a decent enough sci-fi horror. Not a masterpiece by any means, and yeah, somewhat derivative and unoriginal, but there is a fair amount of action and old-school gore effects. Sometimes that’s all you need for a fun time.

 

The movie was mostly filmed in Newport News, Virginia, on a ship anchored in the James River. The ship used as the Volkov was actually a retired Missile Range Instrumentation Ship (USNS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, T-AGM-10), and one of the satellite dish antennas was intentionally damaged for the film’s final scene. John Bruno, the director, is a visual effects artist and has worked on numerous animated movies and TV series, including Heavy Metal (1981), The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat (1974) and the rather obscure Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure (1977). He’s also done visual effects for movies like Poltergeist (1982), Ghostbusters (1984), and the NOS4A2 TV series, just to mention some. So yeah, the old school effects in Virus are solid as hell and even gorier than I remembered. Also, Donald Sutherland works well as a greedy, sadistic and slightly cheesy villain.

 

There’s been a fair amount of older horror movies that were downright crapped on back when they were released, and are later getting a cult following and some delayed praise for being what they are (Deep Rising, for example, one of my favorite sea-monster movies, fits well into this category). As a techno-bodyhorror B-movie, despite not being great by any means, Virus still holds up well as a gory B-grade popcorn-flick.

 

Virus Virus Virus

 

Director: John Bruno
Writers:
Chuck Pfarrer, Dennis Feldman
Country & year: USA, 1999
Actors: Jamie Lee Curtis, William Baldwin, Donald Sutherland, Joanna Pacula, Marshall Bell, Sherman Augustus, Cliff Curtis, Julio Oscar Mechoso, Yuri Chervotkin, Keith Flippen, Olga Rzhepetskaya-Retchin
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0120458/

 

 

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Ghost Ship (2002)

Ghost ShipWe’re in 1962, aboard MS Antonia Graza, an Italian ocean liner. People there are having fun with song, dance and food. Katie, a young girl who appears to be alone on the ship, gets an offer from the captain himself to dance with her. All seems to be fun and games for everyone aboard, until all hell quite literally breaks loose. A wire cord severs all the dancing people in two, while the people who were enjoying their meals starts puking their guts out due to poisoning. The only survivor is Katie, who was short enough to avoid the wire from cutting her. The captain, whom she was just dancing with, was not so lucky though…

 

Forty years later, we get to meet a salvage crew, who is approached by a mysterious guy named Jack Ferriman. He tells them that he’s a weather service pilot, and he spotted a vessel adrift in the Bering Sea…which means that this vessel can be claimed by whoever brings it back. The crew, although not entirely persuaded at first, decides to head out on their salvage tug, the Arctic Warrior. When they approach the vessel, and realize that it’s the Antonia Graza that mysteriously disappeared back in 1962, they’re immediately aware of the riches that can be found on board. And indeed: after boarding it, they soon discover nine boxes, all containing gold bars. But, of course, things go awry pretty quickly after that, and supernatural events start happening. The salvage crew are met with the possibility that the ship’s long-dead passengers are still in board.

 

Ghost Ship is a horror film from 2002, directed by Steve Beck, whom the year before directed Thir13en Ghosts. Those two were his only full-length movies, both of them being Dark Castle Entertainment films. This year was the film’s 20th anniversary, and how does it hold up? Well…considering that the film received mostly negative reviews, and Julianna Margulies (who had the role of Epps from the salvage crew) even disowned the movie like a bad offspring or something, I would say that taking a look back at it now, it didn’t deserve all the flak it got. While the opening is undoubtedly the best part of the entire movie, and the rest is moving along like a regular slow-burn haunted house story (just set on a boat instead), it’s still entertaining enough for a watch and even manages to pack in a bit of atmosphere as they’re searching the abandoned ship.

 

Despite what one might think of Ghost Ship as a whole, there’s no doubt that the opening scene remains one of those scenes that are memorable even to this day, and I even dare say that it’s got a place in the horror genre’s best openings. Too bad the rest of the film isn’t quite up to par with it…overall, it’s somewhat cheesy, but it also appears to be fairly self-aware of the fact. And of course, there’s this…twist at the end, which is partly so silly you’ll feel tempted to roll your eyes a little, yet it is also weirdly clever, which makes it work like a little bit of a saving grace by at least offering something more than just a killer (no pun intended) opening scene. Mostly it’s best enjoyed as a slightly cheesy popcorn flick, and I guess I’ve already made it obvious that the appetizer and dessert taste better than the main course. It’s far from being a masterpiece, but far from being truly bad either.

 

Ghost Ship

 

Director: Steve Beck
Writers:
Mark Hanlon, John Pogue
Country & year: USA, Australia, 2002
Actors:Gabriel Byrne, Julianna Margulies, Ron Eldard, Desmond Harrington, Isaiah Washington, Alex Dimitriades, Karl Urban, Emily Browning, Francesca Rettondini, Boris Brkic, Bob Ruggiero
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0288477/

 

 

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She Creature (2001)

We’re in Ireland, and the year is 1905. Two carnies, Angus Shaw and his infertile wife Lily, runs a fake mermaid show where Lily plays the role of a beautiful and enchanting mermaid. One evening, during one of their shows, a mysterious fellow named Mr. Woolrich appears and privately calls them out on their act, while at the same time appearing strangely relieved that Lily was, in fact, not a real mermaid. They offer him a ride home, where it’s revealed that he’s got a mermaid captured. A real one. Naturally, Angus wants to use this creature as part of the freak show, but Woolrich strongly warns against it. Not easily deterred, Angus later brings a few colleagues back with him to abduct the mermaid, and smuggles her aboard a ship in order to take her to America. Lily tries to object to this idea, but to no avail. And onboard the ship, the mermaid soon reveals her darker side…

 

She Creature is a 2001 made-for-TV horror film, directed by Sebastian Gutierrez (the title of this film was originally Mermaid Chronicles Part 1: She Creature, but there was never any part 2). It’s the first in a Cinemax film series called “Creature Features”, which were all paying tribute to the films of American International Pictures, where the titles are reused without being actual remakes. In this case, the title is borrowed from the 1956 film The She-Creature.

 

She Creature was shot in 18 days, and is a typical B-budget movie . It’s filmed in a style that resembles the old monster movies, and with taking place in the Victorian era there’s also some really atmospheric cinematography reminiscent of the old Hammer films. With the renowned Stan Winston as producer it also should come as no surprise that the special effects are pretty decent. The mermaid is also portrayed in a rather convincing way, possibly much due to the fake mermaid we witness early on at the freak show. The mermaid Lily plays there is so obviously over-the-top fake, that when we get to witness the real mermaid in a tank of water the contrast makes it come off as believable. The real mermaid does not sing, she does not talk (except from making a few sounds), and appear more like an intelligent animal with human features rather than any “little mermaid” by Hans Christian Andersen. This is no Ariel, that’s for sure…

 

Much of the atmosphere comes from the Victorian scenery and settings, fitting like hand in glove when constructing a horror tale with a blend of fantasy and gothic mystery. She Creature is by no means any masterpiece, but it’s a fun and slightly cheesy little throwback to the monster movie era with moody cinematography, good production design and some really cool CGI-free special effects. Overall, it makes for a pleasant little pearl of a gothic and aquatic creature feature film.

 

She Creature She Creature She Creature

 

Writer and director: Sebastian Gutierrez
Also known as: Mermaid Chronicles Part 1: She Creature
Country & year: USA, 2001
Actors: Rufus Sewell, Carla Gugino, Jim Piddock, Reno Wilson, Mark Aiken, Fintan McKeown, Aubrey Morris, Gil Bellows, Rya Kihlstedt, Hannah Sim, Jon Sklaroff
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0274659/

 

 

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Death Ship (1980)

A group of happy passengers on a cruise ship is having a jolly good time, until they suddenly gets hit by another ship. The outcome is, of course, fatal. The few survivors gets aboard a lifeboat, and gets picked up but a mysterious black ship that emerges from the fog. When they all get on board the mysterious and eerie ship, they quickly notice that there’s not a single person there except themselves, and they realize something is terribly wrong on this creepy ship. That feeling gets confirmed when they find out that this has actually been a Nazi-torture ship that’s been sailing the seas for years, controlled by the Nazi-ghosts who are tricking people aboard. And when one of the survivors from the cruise ship, the captain, gets possessed by the Nazi-captain that once ruled this death ship, they all seem to be doomed…

 

Death Ship is a low-budget movie directed by Alvin Rakoff, which starts rather promising. We have a gang who, due to unfortunate events, gets on board a mysterious ship where not a single person can be found, and creepy stuff starts happening. And it’s all because of the Nazi’s of course, who else. With a concept like this it’s evident you can get a little bit of cheesy 80’s fun…and with a Nazi-torture ship, there could have been so much potential for a gore-filled flick here with some really nasty scenes! But, alas, we get no such thing…

 

The positives is that the movie manages to keep a certain atmosphere, despite not being able to aptly build up the suspense. I guess part of the problem lies in how the Nazi-torture-ship thing is revealed far too early to the viewers, and then the movie spends a considerable amount of time making the characters find this out as well. And like already mentioned, there’s a disappointing lack of blood n’ gore, where the most memorable scene must be where a lady takes a shower and gets blood over her instead of water…but that scene is actually so long-winded it becomes slightly foolish…if anything, you get a few minutes of a screaming woman and some tits. Oh, and if you think she’s taking the screaming a little too far? Well, as you might guess the blood in the shower isn’t real, but the actress was told it was real, for effect…

 

While Death Ship isn’t that bad, the biggest disappointment is the lack of actual torture on a so-called torture ship. The death scenes are very downplayed, and it’s a little bit too slow for its own good at certain parts. Overall though, the plot is pretty interesting and there’s a solid atmosphere, plus steady camera work and a high production value despite the low budget. This makes it entertaining enough despite its flaws. You just can’t help thinking of all the lost opportunities here though, and I think this is a movie that could have done well with a remake going into full exploitation-mode.

 

Death Ship Death Ship Death Ship

 

Director: Alvin Rakoff
Writer: John Robins, Jack Hill, David P. Lewis
Country & year: UK, Canada, 1980
Actors: George Kennedy, Richard Crenna, Nick Mancuso,Sally Ann Howes, Kate Reid, Victoria Burgoyne, Jennifer McKinney, Danny Higham, Saul Rubinek, Murray Cruchley, Doug Smith, Anthony Sherwood
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0080603/

 

 

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Visitors (2003)

Georgia Perry (Radha Mitchell) is a stubborn and strong-willed young woman: she’s decided to travel around the world in her 44-foot sloop, all by herself (well, almost…she’s got her cat for company). Being used to spending time at sea, and also spending time alone, it goes pretty well at first. She’s used to enjoying her own company, and the cat provides just enough social comfort. Then, the solitude starts taking its toll…while starting with small and insignificant things like starting to talk to her cat…which isn’t uncommon…I mean, who doesn’t talk to their feline companion once in a while? Except, of course, the cat starts talking back to her. A big red flag for her mental well being there, all right. But when she also starts hearing strange noises, and a mysterious fog appears which brings with it a whole array of deceased family members who have suddenly decided to drop in for a visit, it’s time to take it seriously. Is this just a severe case of cabin fever, or is something else happening at sea?

 

Visitors is a psychological thriller directed by Richard Franklin (most known for directing Psycho 2) where nearly all of the playtime happens out at the big blue ocean. While it’s not a truly scary film, it does have a few chilling moments with creepy atmosphere and some interesting scenes. Georgia’s “ghosts” aren’t only appearing during nighttime, either, but in bright daylight as well, adding to the feeling of claustrophobia as there’s no escape. In a haunted house, you can always run outside…but what can you do if the haunting happens in a boat, far out at sea? Nothing of course, unless you want to jump aboard and drown yourself.

 

While Visitors is an okay thriller, it’s not faultless, and there are some rather questionable CGI effects which diminishes the creepy atmosphere a bit. There’s also some scenes that are chugging along a little bit too slowly. Still, overall the movie is an okay watch, mostly for its deep dive into human psychology and the effect of being alone over a long period of time, in surroundings where there’s no one and nothing for miles upon miles. It’s strange how the ocean can appear to be so open, but still so claustrophobic…no matter where you turn, there’s no rescue, nowhere to find refuge.

 

If you’re looking to get your toes wet with a movie that provides a good amount of action, I guess something like Deep Rising would be a safer bet. Visitors is a slow-burning thriller with some creepy scenes and atmosphere, and people that can relate to the idea of being all alone, while haunted by your inner demons, will probably appreciate this movie the most.

 

Visitors

 

Director: Richard Franklin
Writer: Everett De Roche
Country & year: Australia, 2003
Actors: Radha Mitchell, Susannah York, Ray Barrett, Dominic Purcell, Tottie Goldsmith, Che Timmins, Christopher Kirby, Jan Friedl, Soula Alexander, Roberta Connelly, Michelle McClatchy,
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0301989/

 

 

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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/

 

 

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The Call of Cthulhu (2005)

The Call of CthulhuA man is organizing the affairs of his recently deceased uncle, and accidentally comes across a series of notes and paper clippings which tells about the Cthulhu Cult and an ancient horror lurking beneath the sea. Intrigued by all of this, he continues to investigate, getting more and more drawn into the mystery of this cult and the creature Cthulhu, which is a gigantic entity worshipped by the cultists: a creature in the shape of an octopus, a dragon, and a caricature of the human form. There is an occult phrase that, when translated, says “In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming“, meaning that the cultists await its return. As he learns more and more about this cult and the cosmic entity they worship, he gets closer to losing his sanity completely.

 

H.P. Lovecraft is one of the most influential horror writers of all time, especially his Cthulhu mythos. His works have even created a sub-genre within horror that’s called “Lovecraftian horror“. While there aren’t actually that many movies that are fully based on his stories, there are a lot of them who are heavily inspired by his tales of cosmic horror.

 

The Call of Cthulhu is both a faithful rendition of H.P Lovecraft’s short story by the same name, as well as a homage to the black and white silent movie era. This, of course, means you get lots of gesticulation from the actors since the dialogue is shown only with intertitles, aka title cards, causing body language and facial expressions to have a much bigger significance in order to portray the character’s feelings and emotions.

 

The film’s highlights are, of course, the creative visuals. The soundtrack is also top-notch, fitting every scene perfectly and fulfilling the film like hand in glove. In such a nightmarish tale of cultists and ancient horrors, I think it hits the nail on the head with portraying the intended feeling of impending doom, where the protagonist’s investigations slowly reveals upon him just how insignificant humankind really is.

 

I dare say that you do not need to be a Lovecraft enthusiast in order to appreciate this movie. There’s a lot of mood and atmosphere to admire here, especially if you can value the 1920’s style.

 

The Call of Cthulhu

 

Director: Andrew Leman
Country & year: USA, 2005
Actors: Matt Foyer, John Bolen, Ralph Lucas, Chad Fifer, Susan Zucker, Kalafatic Poole, John Klemantaski, Jason Owens, D. Grigsby Poland, David Mersault, Barry Lynch, Dan Novy, Daryl Ball, John Joly, Jason Peterson
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0478988/

 

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