Fantastic Fest 2022: ‘Deep Fear’ Movie Review

Making its North American premiere at this year’s Fantastic Fest, was French filmmaker Grégory Beghin’s tense subterranean horror film, Deep Fear. Piquing my interest with its country of origin, an illicit trip through the catacombs, and a notorious Nazi bunker, Deep Fear was one of the first flicks I watched via the famed film festival. 

In Paris, beneath the streets, the sewers, and the Metro – lies the infamous catacombs. People from all over the world travel there to visit the more than two-centuries-old labyrinth of human remains that run for miles underneath the city. In Beghin’s tale set in 1991, three young friends want something special to do as one of them ships off for the military after the end of the weekend. On their first evening together, the trio partake in excessive drinking and a quiet smoke session, but the next day, Sonia (Sofia Lesaffre) has procured for herself, Max (Kassim Meesters), and Henry (Victor Meutelet), an off-the-books excursion deep underground with her pot dealing, catacomb exploring, love interest, Ramy (Joseph Olivennes). 

Max (Kassim Meesters), Sonia (Sofia Lesaffre), Henry (Victor Meutelet), and Ramy (Joseph Olivennes) in DEEP FEAR.

Right off the bat, Deep Fear foreshadows the dark, claustrophobic viewing experience audiences have ahead of themselves and after the drinking amongst friends, the movie dives right into the subterranean scares. Wiggling through insanely tight holes, traversing through caverns with only their flashlights and Ramy’s experience, the group begins to find their trip exciting. But just as the four find enjoyment, they quickly find terror; a gang of Skinheads are also meandering below. With nowhere to run, the friends are cornered by the Neo Nazi’s and an altercation ensues. Sonia, who is French-Algerian, immediately sparks the racism running rampant within the gang and initiates a string of events that are deadly. Trying to escape through the uncharted darkness, even more obstacles are thrown at them in the way of booby traps, unsafe passages, and last but not least, the discovery of a World War II era bunker hiding a Nazi nightmare. 

I will admit, I’m a sucker for wartime history and I constantly watch documentaries on the subject. There were a few instances where I was pleasantly surprised at the historical facts playing in tandem with certain story elements in Deep Fear. Not only the bunker itself (which really exists and was built by the French as an Air Raid shelter that the Nazis took over, modifying it for their own purposes, when they occupied the country in 1940) but the discovery of a nefarious substance in the bunker that the German war machine, and some of its citizens, would partake to alleviate fatigue, stress, hunger, along with aches and pains. Pervitin was pretty much over-the-counter speed and gave a somewhat plausible reason for what the explorers find deep below. 

Deep Fear isn’t really offering anything new for the genre, but it does deliver plenty of tension, impressive shooting locations, keen cinematography ( I can only imagine the challenges faced while filming), and in the third act, surprises with an onslaught of gore. Keep an eye out for Deep Fear coming our way in early November on the Bloody Disgusting fueled Screambox. 

Check out the trailer below!

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