“Deep Fear”

This film was screened at Fantastic Fest

Sometimes the simplest stories prove to be the most horrifying, and director Grégory Beghin‘s “Deep Fear” is as unsettling as they come. His eye for visuals is elevated by a chilling screenplay (by Nicolas Tackian) and effective performances, which all come together to make a truly scary film.

Set in Paris in 1991, the film follows a group of friends who meet a stranger and urban explorer named Ramy (Joseph Olivennes) and agree to have him lead them on a tour of the city’s famous catacombs. It’s something Sonia (Sofia Lesaffre) and pal Max (Kassim Meesters) think sounds like a new and exciting way to send off Henry (Victor Meutelet) before he leaves in a few days to begin his mandatory military service. Ramy agrees to take them into the depths of the underground network, where they will meet up with other self-described “cataphiles” and venture into an uncharted section of the catacombs. Armed with a video camera, flashlights, and a sense of adventure, the trio head underground — but nothing can prepare them for what’s waiting beneath the surface.

Beghin so expertly captures the feeling of being trapped that the film brought back memories of my own personal spelunking disaster when I was in my twenties. The film made me re-experience the horror of being in an enclosed, small space all over again. As a person who suffers from claustrophobia because of that incident, the first part of this movie was so hard to watch that it nearly gave me a panic attack, which I suppose is a testament to Beghin’s direction because he nails the feeling of being stuck in a too-small space.

What follows is a subterranean horror fest complete with skinheads, Nazis, gore, and a surprise that is actually historically accurate (I’m certain you’ll want to Google it as well). Try to go in cold and avoid reading any spoilers for maximum enjoyment.

“Deep Fear” features a cool premise with solid performances and a story that really gets cooking in the film’s last twenty minutes (that’s when the real horror begins). While a bit slow to start, this is an awesome genre movie that is well worth your patience.

By: Louisa Moore

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