The Deep Ones (H.P. Lovecraft Lo-Budget Stank Horror by Chad Ferrin)

 

Ask most horror nerds why there’s never been a truly successful Lovecraft adaptation, and they’ll tell you it’s because Lovecraft never described his monsters, but chose to keep them in the shadows, and once you drag something ineffable into sunlight it loses its power. I call bullshit on that for a few reasons. First, the best Lovecraftian films of the last several years (from The Mist to The Untamed to TV’s Lovecraft Country) have done a fair amount of monster showing. Second, the soul of Lovecraft’s writing is not in the monsters at all, but rather in a very particular mood and atmosphere that is easier to evoke on the page than onscreen.

 
 

With that being said, it doesn’t help that you can walk into any Hot Topic in the country and buy a Cthulhu plush toy for $15. In that regard, capturing the internality and tone of Lovecraft’s writing is more important now than ever. The Deep Ones, the latest stab at mythos-making from low-budget auteur Chad Ferrin, tries to solve this problem by going in a Dagon meets Rosemary’s Baby direction, centering on a woman (something Lovecraft never did) and her creeping paranoia that her husband has been seduced into an uncanny seaside cult. It’s a solid idea, so more’s the pity that the execution falls down in pretty much every aspect. Cheap-looking, awkwardly acted, and flatly lit, it has all the drawbacks of its low-budget brethren with none of the lurid excess or left-field weirdness you sometimes get from productions like this. Like Dagon’s humanoid fish scions, this film has a foot in two worlds to its own detriment: just serious enough to be boring, not competent enough to be compelling.

 

The Deep Ones Official Facebook

Written by Cthulen, Dead Dreamer

The Deep Ones (2020, US)
Chad Ferrin
2 / 5

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