A horror film underwater. This is the crazy bet of Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury, directors of THE DEEP HOUSE. Did they win the bet? Nothing is less sure.
Urbex, in other words “urban exploration”, is so horrifying in nature, that we do not know which of the horror film or of the urbex was inspired by the other. For a group of enthusiasts, it is a question of exploring an abandoned place, to which access is prohibited, generally at night. In recent years, the discipline has aroused new enthusiasm with the rise of specialized YouTubers. From the point of view of viewers, many will say that The Blair Witch Project presents an embryonic form. Others, that in reality, Urbex is nothing more than a type of historical tourism. And that the versions filmed for the Internet feed for commercial purposes a popular imagination, fundamentally linked to horror cinema.
A new vein
However, debate aside, the discipline of urbex has offered the horror film industry a formidable vein to exploit, or even to “update”. the found-footage now takes the pretext of YouTube as a backdrop. And thus perhaps makes himself more credible than his elders who often struggled to explain this painful obsession with keeping the camera on. Since YouTube, the obsession with filming has been associated with that of garnering as many views as possible. And this, in a great popularity contest, organized on a worldwide scale. An easy criticism of the race for likes that unfortunately, THE DEEP HOUSE kisses a little too closely, even if it means making crates.
THE DEEP HOUSE isn’t the first horror film to build on the phenomenon. Serious encounters has, in fact, more or less opened the ball in 2011 – except that he had chosen to place his action on the set of a reality TV paranormal investigation. The very forgettable Urban explorer and the sympathetic Catacombs will gradually approach amateur practice. And finally, Night shot will set foot in the dish in 2018. French reiteration of Serious encounters, the film this time indeed features urbex YouTubers. But if Night shot already appeared to be reheated… what did the genre need to renew itself? With THE DEEP HOUSE, Alexandre bustillo and Julien maury propose to inject something new with a tad ofhigh concept.
Because THE DEEP HOUSE leads a couple of urbex YouTubers underwater, in a house submerged under an artificial lake. However, and this is where the shoe pinches, the film only holds its interest in the improbability of its in camera. We can only salute the performance: shooting a horror film in a basin filled with water at a depth of 9 meters shows a certain daring. However, this setting in abyss does not necessarily make the scenario better. Indeed, THE DEEP HOUSE is ultimately nothing more than a haunted house movie like there are so many. Where the two characters, cluttered with masks and oxygen bottles, cannot find a way out and where the ghosts come out of the shadows by jumpscares, after a long moment of anticipation.
It even becomes fun to spot the clichés of the genre listed in the film. The disturbing old man that we shouldn’t follow, the brick wall that suddenly appears in front of the exit, the family of degenerate Satanists who are angry with our physical integrity … It is understood, not surprisingly, but nevertheless, let’s face it , not inherently unpleasant. THE DEEP HOUSE even offers us beautiful moments of thrill with its disturbing staging. The film occasionally takes advantage of its high concept, especially for fear of what lies in wait for us lurking in troubled waters. Unfortunately, these few shards are served by a acting with strawberries, but also – and this is very damaging – by the constraint of the submerged decor …
To have ?
After all, THE DEEP HOUSE is perhaps only a tribute to certain ultra codified horror films. And, in this sense, it is not completely failing in its ambitions. The fear remains and the entertainment is no less fun. However, if one agrees to think of it as such, it becomes nothing more than a passable haunted house movie, among hundreds of other passable haunted house movies. Maybe he shouldn’t have bothered with the few liters of water above his head. Or maybe the game was worth the candle. For its few flashes. And that the performance is worth a look, despite some leaks from the script …
• Original title : The Deep House
• Realization : Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury
• Scenario: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury
• Main actors : Camille Rowe, James Jagger, Eric Savin
• Release date : June 30, 2021
• Duration : 1h21min