FrightFest review – Deep Fear

My notes on Deep Fear

This formula French shockert feels a lot like a mash-up of As Above, So Below (Paris catacombs) and Urban Explorer (Nazi bunker) – but it also has a dash of Creep (the Chris Smith one) and maybe trace elements of Luc Besson’s Subway.  In the 1980s, a Jules et Jim et Fille trio of students – Franco-Algerian Sonia (Sofia Lesaffre) and her pals Max (Kassim Meesters) and Henry (Victor Meutelet) – want to have a special treat adventure before they part for university, and prevail on a guide to take them for an unofficial tour of the tunnels beneath Paris, where everyone has ominous names like Dante, Faust and Lamia.  They’ve also got on the wrong side of a bunch of neo-Nazi skinheads who keep showing up to make trouble … but there are nastier holdovers from WWII in a German bunker deep under the city, and eventually gory terror is set loose.  Directed by Grégory Beghin and directed by Nicolas Tackian, Deep Fear is on the generic side and also doesn’t know when to quit – Lesaffre is an interesting presence and her character sort of provides a link between the horrors of the ‘80s and of the Occupation, but any ideas in the script are half-formed and what we mostly get are unsettling scenes of folks reluctantly squirming through tight, dangerous places underground or being mangled by booby-traps and unseen monsters who turn out to be disappointingly familiar when they do turn up onscreen.  The overall tone, appropriately, makes this something of a downer.  Though there’s a scenes-we’d-like-to-see bit with the neo-Nazis reflectively heiling at the sight of a Nazi uniform and not getting what they expect in return.

Here’s the FrightFest listing.


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