Taking a swing at the pretentiousness of the art-world while delivering a delightfully strange story, Deep Dark is a horror movie that thrills. Even if you have to watch between your fingers at times.
Sean McGrath stars as Hermann, a sculptor who believes he has what it takes to make it in the art world but constantly gets rejected. As the viewer we can see that his work lacks substance (he makes mobiles) resulting in an embarrassing stunt that goes wrong at a gallery.
Desperate, he badgers the gallery owner, Devora (Anne Sorce) for one last chance and she agrees seemingly just to get rid of him. Hermann has two weeks to come up with something spectacular and after seeking advice from his uncle he shuts himself away in a derelict apartment in hope of finding inspiration.
He just can’t find it though and at the end of this tether, he decides to kill himself. He is interrupted by a strange hole in the wall which begins to talk to him. The soft and sultry tones of a woman (Denise Poirier) says that she can help him be a success and all she needs is his love and attention.
Hermann agrees and the hole begins to spit out pods that he affixes to his mobiles. These pods have some kind of effect on people and Hermann is launched into art stardom.
Successful now, he begins to take the hole for granted and stops keeping his end of the bargain. As Devora begins to take a more personal interest in him, the hole’s jealousy grows and grows.
The mix of body horror, sex and betrayal makes for an uncomfortable watch at times. The holes quiet insistence that Hermann love her unconditionally gets more and more sinister as the movie goes on. He had no idea what he was getting himself into but even he thinks sticking his penis into the hole is a bit too far (although he does do it).
Sean McGrath is excellent here. From a down-trodden nobody to the cream of the art world, his transformation is great to watch. He isn’t exactly likeable, especially when he begins to reject the hole but his character arc makes for a good watch. In fact, the grimy feel of the movie and characters makes most unlikable except the hole.
Denise Poirier’s erotic soft tone is sinister, especially as you never actually see what she is but sympathetic. She never led Hermann on, she made it clear from the start what she wanted. He was happy to use her for his own gain.
Just one of a number of social commentary themes running through the movie. Some of it might seem ham-fisted, such as the level of pompousness that comes from the art world but there’s a little tongue in cheekiness to it all. The idea of framing key moments in Hermann’s life with curation notes is inspired.
Deep Dark is a filthy horror movie but that doesn’t stop its dark humour, gory moments and tense finale from being a lot of fun to watch.