International Horror Film: The Deep House (dir by Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury)

The 2021 French film, The Deep House, tells the story of Tina (Camilla Rowe) and Ben (James Jagger).  Originally from New York, Tina and James are driving across Europe and filming themselves as they explore haunted houses.  They have recently learned of a submerged house in France.  With the help of a local guide named Pierre (Eric Savin), they track down the lake that Pierre claims is the location of the house.  Tina and James put on their diving gear and jump into the water.  Pierre, on the other hand, stays on dry land.  In fact, Pierre seems like he might have an agenda of his own.

Tina and James find the underwater house and they continue to film themselves as they explore it.  (In fact, with their eagerness to go travel the world and film themselves disrupting their surroundings, you might be tempted to think that this film has something on its mind about American interventionism.)  Interestingly enough, the house is in surprisingly good shape despite having been underwater for a few decades.  In fact, the house is full of posters, photographs, and graffiti, all of which one would expect to be destroyed by exposure to water.  Why, there’s even a fake clown head just kind of sitting there.  However, Tina and James are a bit more concerned about why their equipment suddenly seems to be malfunctioning.  And then, of course, there’s the two dead bodies that are chained to the walls inside the house.

Now, you may be wondering why Tina and James don’t just leave the house.  Believe it or not, they try to leave as soon as they come across the bodies.  (Most of my friends would probably immediately try to leave as soon as they saw that clown.  You have to feel bad for all the misunderstood and misjudged clowns of the world.)  But suddenly, the window that they previously swam through has been blocked by a brick wall.  In fact, the house seems to be constantly changing and rebuilding itself, all to keep Tina and James from finding a way out.  With their air supply running out, Tina and James try to figure out how to escape the house and, even more importantly, how to escape the zombie that has suddenly shown up.

Oh, did I forget the mention the zombies?  Well …. there’s a zombie.

Well-directed by Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo, The Deep House is an atmospheric horror film, one that doesn’t waste any time launching into its story.  While there have been plenty of horror films about people exploring haunted houses and accidentally filming their own demise, The Deep House adds a new wrinkle by having almost all of the action occur underwater.  Even if Tina and James manages to escape the house and the zombies, you still have to wonder if they’ll have enough air left to make it to the surface.  Maury and Bustillo do a good job of generating suspense and the film has more than enough jump scares to keep most horror fans happy.  The Deep House is worth the dive.

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