Directed by: #ChadFerrin
Written by: #ChadFerrin, H.P. Lovecraft (inspired by)
Grimmfest Film Review by: Darren Tilby
If you have seen one cultist community film, you have seen them all, right? Well, no, actually. There are plenty of films attempting to breath new life into this hackneyed subgenre of horror—but this is not one of them. Sadly, not even the implacable dark charm of the great H.P. Lovecraft himself can prevent The Deep Ones from feeling a little too familiar most of the time. But does that mean the movie is not enjoyable...oh, hell no!
In fact, I would even go as far as to say that there is a peculiar comfort in its familiarity. It is like a horror film you have seen hundreds of times before: you know what is coming, you can see it a mile away, and you know it is going to be nasty, and yet—it feels safe. It is like every horror B-movie I can remember from my youth, ever - and I mean that as a compliment, B-movies back then was great. Full of questionable acting, inventive practical effects, clichéd plot devices and some of the cheesiest dialogue ever put to paper, The Deep Ones follows suite and, in its own way, is a brilliant homage to horror movies of the mid-90s.
However, this does not alter the reality that The Deep Ones feels incredibly dated and unoriginal. I appreciate that this is partially down to the source material itself and partly since Lovecraft’s works have, in one form or another, been done to death. But, still, it would have been nice if there had been even an attempt to do something different here; something more subversive, perhaps.
The film has a genuine creepiness to it, though, and there is plenty of cosmic-horror goodness for viewers to unpack. Fans of Lovecraft will likely feel right at home with its bleak ambience, neon-soaked visuals (fantastic work from Jeff Billings), robed cultists, talk of old-world gods and, of course, tentacled beasties galore! And I loved the use of practical special effects, which, for the better part, are incredibly solid. It is worth noting, however, that the creature at the end of the film is laughable. It is so hilariously bad, in fact, I think it may be genius? Either way, it is very reminiscent of the monster movies of the 1950s, and it is just as campy, so if you’re expecting something with a darker, more ominous flavour, this may feel somewhat jarring.
It is best, then, to view The Deep Ones more as a tongue-in-cheek homage to the works of H.P. Lovecraft than it is to assume you will get anything especially profound or frightening here. Personally, I would have liked to have seen something with a little more weight; a film with more clout, which works to subvert the expectations of its audience. But there is no denying The Deep Ones provides a generous and enjoyable dose of Lovecraftian entertainment, wrapped up in comfortably familiar packaging. And for the love of the old Gods, do not forget to stick around for the hilarious post-credits scenes!