The Deep House
the deep house | alexandre bustillo | julien maury | julien david | rachel parker | camille rowe | james fagger | eric savin | haunted house | haunted | underwater | ritual | curse | drama | mystery | thriller | france | belgium | lovecraftian | alexis servaes
Film: The Deep House
Director: Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury
Writer: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien David, Julien Maury and Rachel Parker
Starring: Camille Rowe, James Jagger and Eric Savin
This is a movie that I heard about through podcasts. The premise intrigued me, so I decided to make this a Featured Review for Journey with a Cinephile: A Horror Movie Podcast. It also allowed me to include this as a potential year end top 10 movie as well. I just knew what the basic premise from what I heard from others. The synopsis is a young and modern couple goes to France to explore an underwater house and share their findings on social media. Their presence awakens a dark spirit that haunts the house.
For this movie, we start in the Ukraine. This is an interesting introduction to what our two leads do. There is Tina (Camille Rowe), who is American, but able to speak fluent French from her grandmother. She is seeing Ben (James Jagger), who is originally from England. They’ve gone out to an abandoned building to film what they’re doing with GoPro style cameras and putting it out on social media. Ben is hoping to make money off of this, where Tina is starting to enjoy the exploring aspects. She doesn’t like it when Ben tries to scare her.
Three months later, they’re in France as the synopsis states. Tina is in the bathtub, practicing holding her breath. She is only able to go for a little over a minute and half. She goes outside to meet with Ben where she tells him she can hold her breath for three minutes. They then go into a small French town. It is looking rundown and Ben points out some features of the architecture. Tina asks for directions as they’re looking for a town that has been flooded and now at the bottom of a lake.
When they arrive, it isn’t what they’re expecting. It looks to be a tourist spot. Tina wants to make the best of it where Ben sulks. He goes to get them wine and meets with a guy by the name of Pierre (Eric Savin). Ben tells Tina that this guy knows of a secluded spot where there is a house that is preserved in the water. This bothers Tina, but she agrees to go.
Pierre takes them to this place and our two leads get into their gear. They have scuba tanks, one hour worth of air and a drone. Pierre says a line that is something along the lines of ‘which is dead, can eternal lie’. This turns out to be a family motto. It also gave me Lovecraftian vibes.
Our two leads go down to the house that is under the water. They struggle to get in, but do so through a window on the second level. It leads to the attic and the house below. They find that there are no fish inside the gate which is odd. Everything inside seems to be oddly preserved as well. As they search, they make a terrifying discovery in the basement. The door is blocked by a large statue of Jesus. There could be something supernatural going on here as our couple get trapped inside of this house with a limited amount of air.
That should be enough fleshing out of the synopsis there. Where I want to start is that I like the concept here. I heard from a couple of podcasts a bit about this movie. Over on Exploding Heads Horror Podcast, they brought up an interesting question. Would this movie be remembered if not for the interesting variation on a common story? What they mean there is that we have this haunted house, but this movie is setting it underneath the water. The added element being that our divers had a limited amount of air, so it creates urgency to get out. Before I answer this question, I want to flesh this out a bit more.
Where I’m going dive a bit deeper in here is with the concept of the movie. I like the idea of this couple going around to abandoned buildings. They’re filming it like ghost hunter shows. Ben isn’t adding things that aren’t happening so there is that. He is playing it straight. What is interesting about him is that he falls into that millennial mentality. They’re doing everything for social media and trying to no longer need to work a real job. Tina has come around to going to these places but doesn’t fully buy into the show they’re doing. This does cause some tension between them.
From there, we have the house they go to under the water. There is a dark history behind it. Our two leads learn of it while underwater and I’ll be honest, it was creepy. I got a bit of a Lovecraftian vibe as I said. It isn’t too heavy. We aren’t getting like elder gods or monsters that are older than humanity. Don’t think that coming in. This family was doing a ritual of sorts and it is the reason behind why the house is haunted. There is also the motto that Pierre utters. How it factors in makes sense for sure. This movie isn’t doing anything new here, but I found it to be effective.
Then to get back to the question that I posed. I’ve said that this movie is taking this haunted house film that we’ve seen before and putting it underwater. I do think there is a twist to it. Our couple wants to get out, but they can’t. They’re trapped by supernatural forces. There could be a way to look at it that they’re panicking and not paying attention, going to the wrong spot. I don’t buy this, but it is a way to look at it. I’ll be honest, I think this movie would be more generic without this twist and be forgotten. Having it set under the water does set it apart. Being that the story is generic aside from that, it does hold it back for me.
Moving from the story, I’ll go to the acting. I think that Rowe and Jagger are good. They both feel like the characters. We get to know them. They feel like a couple and bring life to the characters. Savin is solid in his minor role of Pierre. There is some interesting deeper context to his character. It wasn’t overly shocking to me, but it is needed. I’d say that Alexis Servaes, Anne Classens and Carolina Massey all work as the Montégnac family. They are quite creepy in their roles. The acting is solid overall to me.
Then our last things to go over would be the cinematography, effects and soundtrack. For the former, it is interesting. A good amount of this is done under the water and it feels like that. There is a bit of a found-footage feel here. Tina and Ben are fitted with cameras. We also have the drone as another camera that is documenting the footage. Not sure I would call this a found-footage movie other than that. Going along with how this is shot are the effects. I think the make-up that they have for the Montégnac was creepy. That was effective. I like how odd it is that the house is perfectly preserved and it makes sense. Other than that, they’re limited with the effects. Then we have the soundtrack. I think it is done well. There are times when the music plays and it shouldn’t be. That helped to add a creepy factor. The lack of sound under the water adds another aspect to it as well.
So then in conclusion here, this movie is an interesting one. We have a generic ghost story here that gets added by an added twist being under the water. There is a slight Lovecraftian vibe to it. The acting is solid. I think it fits the characters and gives them life. I think how this is shot is interesting. The effects are good enough for what they needed and the soundtrack adds an interesting atmosphere that is needed. Not a great movie by any stretch, but it is just lacking a bit for me. I’d say that this is an above average movie just missing out on being good for me.
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10