Grimmfest 2020 film review: HP Lovecraft’s The Deep Ones
Shock and gore7
Cast having a ball7
Ian Winterton | On 09, Oct 2020
Director: Chad Ferrin
Cast: Gina La Piana, Robert Miano, Johann Urb, Silvia Spross, Kelli Maroney
Watch The Deep Ones online in the UK: Grimmfest
The Deep Ones is streaming online as part of Grimmfest 2020. For the full festival line-up and how it works, click here
Despite featuring Lovecraft’s name in its title, and ostensibly based on his classic novella The Shadow over Innsmouth, The Deep Ones has more in common with low-budget 1980s gorefests than the author – and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Updating the 1931 story to the modern day, and from the eastern seaboard of the USA to the sun-kissed West Coast, writer-director Chad Ferrin has married couple Alex (Gina La Piana) and Petri (Johann Urb) renting an Airbnb in an isolated but moneyed community overlooking the Pacific. Alex is mourning a recent miscarriage, of which pregnant neighbour Ingrid (Silvia Spross) is an unwelcome reminder. Ingrid is married to Russell, a charming but creepy rogue (brilliantly played by charming rogue Robert Miano) who – we soon discover – is the leader of a cult worshipping Great Old Ones Dagon and Cthulhu. What’s more, Russell and his acolytes are intent on breeding human women with the antediluvian denizens of the deep, The Deep Ones.
It’s all very silly, but thoroughly enjoyable – and gore-fiends are treated to some very well executed practical horror effects. Best of all – or most disturbing, delete as applicable – is the birth scene, in which an unfortunate would-be mother to a monster, tentacles whipping about, is torn in half. There are a fair few wobbling tentacles too, which will elicit affectionate laughter, and a gloriously rubbery sea-beast that brings to mind 1954’s Creature From The Black Lagoon, only nowhere near as impressive.
Horror fans will also enjoy an appearance from legendary scream queen Kelli Maroney, best known for 1980s cult classics Night of the Comet and Chopping Mall. Her role here, as best friend, doesn’t make much use of her – although she does get to feature in one of the movie’s stand-out scenes, which involves lots of tentacles.
The silliness and the occasional effective scare holds the attention, and the energy levels of the cast – who one suspects are having a ball – translates into an infectious enthusiasm. It’s not a ground-breaking horror movie, nor the peon to Lovecraft his devotees may be craving, but as an heir to the B-movies of previous decades, this is a winner.