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Review: The Deep Ones (2020)

After a rather disastrous detour into humour with Exorcism at 60,000 Feet, writer/director Chad Ferrin (H. P. Lovecraft’s The Old Ones, Attack in LA) is back with something a bit more serious. This time he’s taking on H.P. Lovecraft and his assortment of fish fetishes in The Deep Ones.

A married couple, Alex (Gina La Piana, 30 Days to Die, Black Widow) and Petri (Johann Urb, Arrow, Resident Evil: Retribution), book an Airbnb in a secluded coastal town. Alex has recently miscarried, and they want some time to relax and recover. Russel (Robert Miano, Donnie Brasco, Get Gone) and Ingrid (Silvia Spross, Giallo, Bloody Bobby), welcome them and then leave for their boat. The motion of the waves makes Ingrid’s pregnancy go smoother. Alex and Petri are soon taking advantage of the spacious bedroom, unaware a hidden camera is recording it all.

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But that is the least of their problems. Russel and Ingrid take Petri out on their boat while the suddenly ill Alex sleeps. That leads to a scene that resembles something out of hentai more than anything Lovecraft ever wrote. There’s definitely something fishy going on at the Solar Bay Colony, and Alex is about to be caught in the middle of it.

Ferrin has taken Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth and added in a dose of Rosemary’s Baby, and as Alex’s friend Deb (Jackie Debatin) mentions, another Ira Levin book, The Stepford Wives. Then he seasoned it with some Humanoids from the Deep. With a mix like that, The Deep Ones certainly isn’t going to be boring.

Then he gets it all off to a start that lets you know what to expect, a woman who turns out to be a pre-pregnancy Ingrid stark naked and running for her life. Within the first half hour we get multiple naked women, tentacles, monsters and loads of blood. The Deep Ones is quite unapologetically an exploitation film, but coming from the director of Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill! and Someone’s Knocking at the Door, that shouldn’t be a surprise.

The Deep Ones Dagon

There are some nice surprises among the supporting cast, including scream queen Kelli Maroney (Hell’s Kitty, Night of the Comet) as Ambrose, the obligatory crazy person who really does know what’s going on. And Ferrin regular Timothy Muskatell (The Ghouls, The Chair) in drag playing Dr. Rayburn, a role originally intended for Bai Ling.

I mentioned blood and monsters previously, James Ojala (Strange Nature, Saint Bernard) and his company deliver loads of tentacles coming from places tentacles should not be coming from as well as Dagon himself. Per IMDB, the entire budget for The Deep Ones was $500,000 so it’s not state of the art. But it is damn good, and his seagoing C.H.U.D. should bring a smile to the face of monster fans.

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The score is by Richard Band, who provided the music on several of Stuart Gordon’s Lovecraft adaptations although, oddly enough, not Dagon. It’s enjoyably retro in the same way the effects are. Which is fitting because The Deep Ones is pretty much what everyone was expecting when it was announced Stuart Gordon was filming Dagon. This won’t be a film for everyone. The mothers of Dagon’s offspring aren’t exactly willing, and the film doesn’t shy away from those scenes. I expect when this gets off the fest circuit and into release, there will be some people complaining about that. I will not be one of those people.

The Deep Ones is currently on the festival circuit, most recently playing at this Grimmfest and Sitges with other showings planned. You can check for where and when on the film’s Facebook page.

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