The Deep Ones

I haven't seen every single movie adaptation of an H.P. Lovecraft story, so I can't say for certain that The Deep Ones is the worst of them. Imagining one that's any less pleasing is difficult, though. It's actually the second picture this year to be inspired by this particular story. The first was Sacrifice, a vastly superior effort that scored in all the ways The Deep Ones doesn't.

A young couple, Alex (Gina La Plana) and Petri (Johann Urb), rents a beachside Airbnb to have a little getaway after the loss of their child. Despite their supposed desire for alone time, Petri becomes seduced by colorful local native Russell Marsh (Robert Miano), an aficionado of wine, women, and sailing. Let's just cut to the chase here. Marsh and everyone else in the town are part of a cult that worships a sea creature. Our heroes are about to become victims in a Rosemary's Baby-esque plot.

The Deep Ones fails in every way. The performances are on a community theater level, with everyone playing to the back row. The dialogue is flat and uninspired. The visual effects are hilariously cheap-looking, especially the sea monster when it finally makes an appearance. The cinematography is either over-lit or too dark, depending on the scene. Copious amounts of gratuitous female nudity are thrown in to create a faux sense of edginess. Writer/director Chad Ferrin doesn't build any mystery or suspense with the story. If you're going to adapt Lovecraft, shouldn't focusing on those things be your primary order of business?

With nothing going for it, The Deep Ones quickly becomes excruciatingly dull, despite the source material. Stuart Gordon's 1985 Re-Animator and 1986 From Beyond are the gold standard for Lovecraft adaptations. See (or re-see) them, or check out Sacrifice if you want to watch it done right. There's nothing to recommend this misguided movie.


out of four

The Deep Ones is unrated, but contains bloody violence, nudity, and sexual content. The running time is 1 hour and 23 minutes.