REVIEW: Deep Fear (2022)

dir. Grégory Beghin

Beneath the streets of Paris Sonia (Sofia Lesaffre) and her two closest friends Max (Kassim Meesters) and Henry (Victor Meutelet) embark on an expedition into the city’s infamous catacombs. As they follow their tour guide – a self confessed ‘cataphile’ – deeper underground, they soon realise the tunnels hold several layers of terror they must face in their search for an exit, particularly when they discover a German bunker used by the Nazis that isn’t as derelict as it should be.

The Paris catacombs are pure nightmare fodder, with their steep decline and walls adorned with the bones of people the authorities cannot find space for in cemeteries. Aside from Catacombs (2007) and As Above So Below (2015), very few films have used this terrifying real life location: so when a film like Deep Fear emerges it immediately piques interest. And boy does it utilise its horrifying environment. With claustrophobia amped up as characters crawl through tiny spaces the terror is immediate – evoking the visceral panic of The Descent (2005) – even before any obvious horror begins.

As the nature of the antagonistic threat is revealed, Deep Fear evolves into an intelligent and effective commentary on the way certain toxic ideologies have disguised themselves, being hidden under the thin surface of everyday European society. With some genuine scares, smart subtext and a breath-taking setting, the result is a French horror that has some serious meat on its buried bones.

Ygraine Hackett-Cantabrana


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