Deep Dark (2015) **1/2
D: Michael Medaglia
C: Sean McGrath, Denise Poirier, Anne Sorce, Tabor Helton, Monica Graves, Mary McDonald-Lewis John Nielsen
Plot Synopsis: A failed sculptor discovers a strange, talking hole in the wall. It has the power to fulfill his wildest dreams and become his worst nightmare.
Review: I've said it before, but I think it's worth repeating. For me, horror has always been about taking obstacles or things that scare viewers and giving them a context, within a movie, so that they can face those fears or obstacles in real life. The scenarios in a horror movie are metaphors for the horror we can encounter in our daily lives. No other film, in recent memory, better embodies that aesthetic then Deep Dark.
In it, we watch as a struggling artist is routinely dismissed by everyone around him. His mom doesn't get him. Fellow artists don't take his art seriously. An art curator won't give him the time of day and the general public couldn't be bothered. At the point of almost wanting to throw in the towel, he rents a dingy apartment, from his uncle, to work on his latest project in a last ditch attempt. It's there, that he discovers a spirit or even possibly a creature who can make all of his dreams come true, but at a price.
Going off the plot synopsis, you're probably inclined to think that this is another generic horror movie, but it isn't. To give away more, would be to give away its secrets. What I can tell you is that we watch, in detail, as this artist finds the creative spark that's been missing in his past work. We watch as his first, of many projects, becomes a runway success. We watch as he has to give up a part of his body and, in essence, his pride, in order to keep making great art.
All of the emotions, of these various scenarios, are brought to life tangibly. When the artist, at the center of all of this, finds his creative spark, we feel his joy. When he sells his first art installation, in a bidding war, we feel a rush of excitement & spontaneity. When he has to give up a part of his body, we feel that in harrowing detail. Deep Dark is successful in making viewers feel something.
Another standout scene involves the main character presenting his first exhibition. It's a moment of great tension and shows the director's considerable skill in generating suspense in a non-horror scenario. However, after generating all this tension, they don't know how to transition to the next scene.
Not knowing how to make the jump from this scene to the next, they have a character appear who makes explicit sexual remarks before running off to engage in sexual activity ...with multiple partners ....in a public space. This whole scenario feels like something that belongs in a sex comedy, not in a carefully observed horror movie. Making it all the worse, is the actor making these comments and engaging in this sexual behavior, delivers a hammy, over the top performance.
This is a near great horror film, but it trips up in rudimentary details. As they say, it's always the best swimmers who drown. [Not Rated] 79 minutes.
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