The Deep Dark, a French survival thriller that took the Feature Film Silver Prize at this year’s Toronto After Dark Film Festival, is an assuredly intense and exceptionally directed take on a familiar story.
The year is 1956 and a bunch of miners in Northern France have been tasked with taking a academic researchers over 1,000 metres underground for… you know, reasons. Well, as these things tend to go, more questions should’ve been asked because everyone ends up getting trapped underground when they upset a mysterious monster that has been living inside a tomb for the past hundred years.
The Deep Dark isn’t a subtle movie (the mine is literally located on Devil’s Island, so you think everyone would take the hint), but it certainly taps into everything that makes both monster movies and claustrophobic nail-biters so much fun to watch. Writer-director Matthieu Turi (who also took prizes for Best Direction and Scariest Movie at TAD) could stand to pick up the pace a little bit, but The Deep Dark nails all of its requisite beats with pinpoint accuracy. A lot of this stuff has been done before – people turn on each other, they search for answers, they look for ways out, they try to protect themselves, you know the drill – but it’s so well done that going for the ride is a breeze. Some wonderful practical effects on the monster and a suitable amount of gore, too, if you’re into that sort of thing.
The Deep Dark screened as part of the 2023 Toronto After Dark Film Festival.
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