Let’s go deep… superdeep.
Superdeep is a Russian horror film about the Kola Superdeep Borehole. We follow Anna (Milena Radulovic), a super smart scientist who is strong armed into going to the super hole after something goes super wrong and many people are left super dead. They first seem to think it is a virus, but things take an odd turn as the threat may be larger than anyone anticipated.
The new phase of eco-horror has been enjoyable (both Gaia and In The Earth have been fantastic), so I had high hopes for this one. The general idea of the story is awesome: an infectious mold has been trapped under the permafrost and since the scientists woke it up it has taken over the lab. Cool, the stuff is awesome looking as well. Great practical effects throughout.
Where the film falters is in both technical and creative ways. The dialogue is dubbed, poorly. For anyone who is sensitive to dubbing (it drives me nuts no matter what) this movie will irk you to no end. I think many characters are speaking in English, but they redubbed anyway. The sounds simply don’t match the movements or feel. Every bit of dialogue is jarring.
What makes matters a bit worse is the performance and writing isn’t great, either. Stilted and awkward dialogue that don’t line up with the tone of the characters is likewise jarring. Mixed with characters who make continually stupid decisions the film becomes a bit of a slog.
At nearly two hours the film feels longer than it should. We never get to connect with any of the characters. What ends up happening is just waiting for the next big event. Super tight camera angles I’m assuming were deployed to increase claustrophobia, but here it just feels like we’re not getting a good look at anything. When the film does slow down and let us take a nice look at the mold and the infections it is great. Unfortunately, these moments are a bit too rare.
Where I find myself the most disappointed is that this film has some great ideas. Mixed with a cool setting, this one has a lot of the right ingredients for a stellar horror film. Even with its faults we end up with some excellent body horror and bits of tension. However, a good idea can only go so far if we don’t connect with the characters.
I wouldn’t say the film is an absolute failure. Yet, I can’t call it a success either. The bummer is that there is a lot of talent in the design elements who won’t get their day in the sun because of other aspects of the film holding it down. Eco-horror is a subgenre I am becoming a major fan of, and I don’t think I’d recommend this to other die hards. If you can stream it, maybe then give it a go?
Apparently, there is an alternate version where they tighten the pacing up. If you can find that one it might be worth the time. Would be nice to find a not dubbed version either.
In the end, we have a film that should have been better than it is.