The Deep House follows a couple who explore an underwater home only to discover that it houses something more sinister than aquatic wildlife.
[This movie was viewed via Vudu (rental purchase) at the time of this review.]
The Deep House Review
I have heard a similar complaint emerge from recent films involving the unnecessary explaining of the happenings on screen. The last movie where this bothered me immensely was Ad Astra, in which Brad Pitt's narration not only felt unnecessary, but it offended my pride that the script assumed I couldn't pay attention well enough, or that I was too stupid to understand the nuances of the protagonist's motives and inner struggles. For the most part, such issues have to be pretty apparent to bother me. The Deep House is a great example of laying it on way too thick.
I felt like The Deep House was explaining exactly what was happening so often that I thought I could close my eyes and just listen to it like a NoSleep Podcast episode. On top of that, the dialogue is atrocious. The two leads spend the entirety of the runtime teasing (in particular the boyfriend to the girlfriend), bickering with one another, panicking at every little thing, and explaining exactly what they're seeing, hearing, and overall experiencing. It got old very quickly.
The concept was a fantastic idea. A haunted house movie underwater? It's perhaps the most creative haunted house setting twist since Event Horizon. But it becomes clear early on that there is going to be some difficulty in maintaining tension and intensity. The biggest problem is not having any fodder. By only having two characters, it is quite clear for any seasoned horror movie patron that both are going to be around for a majority of the runtime. Because of that, there never feels to be any sense of danger through the first hour. We know they are going to just gradually become aware of the supernatural danger they're in, but also gradually ramp up the excuses for why they should stay a little longer "for the views" (it's a social media couple, which has already been played to death recently). So, despite the creative concept, the film falls into mundanity and predictability after that.
I have to give props to the set design. it's absolutely an incredible set that catalyzes all the right survival instincts and phobias into the viewer. Thalassophobia and claustrophobia fill every scene of the tight, dark corridors and the aged, yet pristine and purposefully staged environment. It feels like the house is derelict, yet actively lived in at the same time, which presents its own haunting experience. The entities have their place too. There is something truly frightening about them despite their seemingly mundane appearance. For this I give credit to the director's ability to keep them as uneasy and unpredictable as possible. These parts of the film work great.
But the legitimate scares are still limited. Despite the characters' constant state of panic, nothing feels overtly dangerous. Again, we know there needs to be somebody on screen to vicariously witness the happenings, so these two aren't going anywhere until the final act. (If the movie is 90 minutes, we know they aren't running out of oxygen at the 65-minute mark. Quit mentioning it every 10 minutes.) The plot goes places, but not in any terribly unique way despite the setting. Although we are treated to a fantastic stage, the story is still inevitably unoriginal. A few words changed here or there and the whole thing could've taken place above ground.
This movie was visually and technically quite the experience. I certainly commend it for its execution of a very unique genre twist. It's by far the best element of the film. But the story and script fell so flat for me that I had a hard time retaining interest. The magic of the setting wears off eventually.
Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 8/10
Horror Quality: 5/10
Film Quality: 4/10