‘The Deep House’ Review
Warning: Spoilers Ahead!
Released on June 30th 2021, Blumhouse’s The Deep House (2021) is directed by Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury, the horror film stars Camille Rowe, James Jagger, and Eric Savin. What is The Deep House about? The film follows a young couple who go to France to explore an underwater house. Their plans change when they awaken a dark spirit that haunts the abandoned home.
Produced by famous horror movie studio Blumhouse and distributed by Epix, The Deep House features a captivating setting for a haunted house film and the premise to pair alongside it interested me right away. What if the haunted house our characters were trapped in was underwater? A horrifying idea, especially when you consider the consequences of being trapped for too long. It’s this type of subversion of classic movie tropes that gets my attention.
It got me wondering, is The Deep House a true story? Or at least inspired by one. In an interview with Dread Central, the director’s stated that the idea randomly came to them while talking about wild concepts for stories. So unfortunately The Deep House is not a true story, even though it lends itself to its setting. Principal photography took place in Europe’s largest water tank at Studios Lites in Belgium and in the Occitanie region. Photography also took place at the Raviège and Saint Peyres lakes.
The production of this film is a feat in itself. In an interview with Variety, the directors explained that “the house was built on large grids and progressively plunged into a nine-meter deep water tank that was 20 meters wide.” and “We couldn’t leave the whole house in the water for days at a time because the decors would have been ruined, so we would immerse only parts of the house underwater, and were shooting scenes floor by floor.” and “It was a risky shoot – having the actors and some of the crew go six-meter deep was very uncommon and difficult to insure. Maury and Bustillo were not allowed to go down there and were following the shoot across five or six monitors and four cameras.”
The Deep House has been one of the most atmospheric and technically impressive films that I’ve seen in a while. Aside from its cold cinematography, thought-provoking concept, immaculate set design, and claustrophobic scares… its story is a bit lackluster. From the beginning, The Deep House suffers from your typical found footage setup. It meanders as it introduces our characters, and why they’re going into these abandoned places while giving us (the audience) a lame motivation of making money on the internet without any type of consequence if they don’t reach that goal.
Even without a consequence, our characters continue to put their lives at risk until it’s too late. The film also seems to switch perspective to a camera that doesn’t belong to any of our characters which raised some immediate questions. Is this found footage? Is this a regular film? This type of debate pulled me further out of the film as it went on. This paired with the film’s non-diegetic score, along with its opening credit sequence left me confused pretty quickly about what the intention of the directors was. The Deep House doesn’t seem to know what realm it exists in and if the movie doesn’t know, how will its audience?
The Deep House delivers on its premise and serves up some haunting scares. The one that got me the most was when our character Tina (Camille Rowe) became entangled in chains in the underwater basement only illuminated with harsh red lighting from “Tom”.
Overall, The Deep House is a fun watch with friends, with again some technically impressive production but its editing and story will leave much to be desired. You would anticipate the directors behind Inside (2007) would provide more bite for your buck but unfortunately, that is not the case.
Of course, I always stand by that movies should not live or die by one viewing and I’ll definitely be revisiting the movie later on. If you haven’t seen this yet and want something a little new but a little familiar, this will definitely do the trick. Is The Deep House worth watching? If you’re squeamish about enclosed spaces and clever haunted houses, then absolutely. It’s a spooky hour-and-a-half film to put on with friends. Is The Deep House scary? All we’ll say is that we won’t be diving in lakes any time soon…