Gods of the Deep (2023) Review
Freeze gave us Lovecraftian horrors in the Arctic, now for a followup writer/director Charlie Steeds takes us to the Antarctic to face even more of them in the deep sea thriller Gods of the Deep.
Jim Peters (Derek Nelson, Midnight Peepshow, I Am Rage) is a professor of astrobiology at Miskatonic University’s London campus. He’s carrying on the work of his father, who vanished under mysterious circumstances while working for The Pickman Corporation. They help fund his research, but that doesn’t mean he trusts them. But when they want him to join an expedition to explore a strange structure discovered in an oceanic trench off Antarctica, he can’t refuse.
The film skips over the two months of training they need without so much as a Rocky style montage, so the next thing you know Peters and Christine Harris the mission’s biologist (Makenna Guyler, A Dark Path, White Sky) who are already acting cutesy with each other, are boarding the experimental submersible Providence 3.
Joining them Captain Atkins (Tim Cartwright, The Legend of Mordred, The Barge People), engineer Hank O’Connell (Rory Wilton, Sacrilege, The Santa Situation), Joe Meeker (Kane Surrey, Vampire Virus, A Song from the Dark) and last but not the least Jed Pickman (Chris Lines, The Haunting of Alcatraz, M the Movie) the man in charge of the company itself, is making the trip, so you know it’s important.
While it may be the biggest budgeted film Steeds has directed, Gods of the Deep is still a relatively low budget affair, as you can tell as soon as they board the Providence 3. The sub’s design looks like something from a 1970s TV show, which is the kind of low budget solution I quite like. But it isn’t hard to spot things like light switches and a collapsing ladder from the hardware store standing in for actual marine grade equipment.
But you won’t be noticing that once they enter the structure and find the remains of an ancient civilization built for inhabitants that clearly weren’t human. And then they decide to take a tissue sample from what they think are the remains of one of those inhabitants. Don’t they know “That is not dead which can eternal lie”?
Gods of the Deep mixes and matches elements from several of Lovecraft’s stories, including The Call of Cthulhu, Color Out of Space and At the Mountains of Madness, then adds bits of everything from Event Horizon to Humanoids From the Deep. The result is one zesty bouillabaisse that doesn’t always make sense, but rarely stops moving long enough for you to care. If the tissue sample isn’t growing and giving off a purple light, somebody’s getting possessed or ready to use some high-powered weaponry not on the creature but those standing between him and making a fortune off of whatever it is they woke up.
The effects, while limited, are practical and nicely done. The creature itself looks like a man in a suit shot on a miniature set like an old school Godzilla film. The exterior shots of the sub also look like miniature work rather than CGI, which is nice to see. There actually isn’t much in the way of gore, although a fair amount of blood gets spilled.
It seems like Gods of the Deep has been in production forever, and I was beginning to wonder if it was ever coming out. Charlie Steeds has delivered ninety-seven minutes of wildly entertaining and energetic insanity. And that’s a welcome thing amidst all the dull and/or overly serious films we’ve been seeing lately, so turn your mind off and enjoy.
Gods of the Deep is available on Digital Platforms via Quiver Distribution.