Deep Dark (2015) Review

DeepDark_Art-with-TaglineDeep Dark (US, 2015)

Dir: Michael Medaglia

Starring: Sean McGrath, Denise Poirier, Anne Sorce

UK Release – TBC

Plot: Herman (McGrath) is a struggling artist. Despite his passion for his art, he can never seem to breakthrough to success. On the verge of giving up, he seeks the advice of his uncle. His uncle tells him to rent the old flat he stayed in when he was trying to make it as an artist. It’s there that Herman discovers a mysterious hole that produces strange pearl-like objects that make his art irresistible, gaining him attention from local art dealer, Devora Klein (Sorce). Herman soon finds himself in a dangerous relationship with the mysterious hole, it speaks to him and it is obsessed with him.

Sometimes you find a film so strange that it knocks you flat. A uniquely weird film that you know is going to be polarising, but the one’s who get it are going to love it. For some people it is going to be just silly nonsense because if you’re looking for a logical explanation you will not find it here. This is Cronenberg level weird we’re speaking, Videodrome weird. If you love strange cinema, you’re in for a treat.

Deep Dark is easy to connect with if you’ve ever tried to make it as a creative. Herman is every artist who just can’t find a break. The Hole is the kind of creature (although I use the term lightly because it is just a hole in the wall) of wish fulfilment, like the goose that lays the golden eggs.

deepdark2It’s a character that is going to immediately make you question the sanity of the film makers but they let it grow so naturally that you can feel yourself being pulled along for the ride. The Hole is simple but gradually becomes more complex, and disgusting. While it talks with the seductive voice of Denise Poirier, it is a fleshy hole that produces snotty looking pearls. It really invokes the chest VCR from Videodrome.

Deep Dark also manages to make some pretty cruel jabs at the art world. Every scene that features Herman trying to make his way into the art community shows a lot of ugly art. Art that represents how arbitrary the success is, and how desperate that makes the artists. The art community is shown as hedonistic and obscene. Once they find out about Herman’s secret to success, you know that ugly desperation is going to come into play.

One element of Deep Dark I find interesting is Herman’s relationship with women. They either belittle him, use him, or are creepily obsessed with him. None of them are really seen in a good light and I wasn’t sure what message that was trying to convey. Herman also seems keen to settle down to a tradition life when the art starts getting dangerous. It feels like the film is implying that you can make good art or you can have a relationship but you can’t have both. If that is what it’s saying, it’s not a clear message and it’s a bit of a poor message.

deepdark3This is the first feature film of writer/director Michael Medaglia and it is staggeringly good. There’s a couple moments where the tone becomes a little murky. It’s definitely got dark humour but this isn’t a comedy. The acting is great but I think it might be the delivery of some lines that come across like they’re joking rather that serious. It can be silly, but it’s not laughing at itself. It’s trying to tell a weird story seriously and I appreciate that. It’s the kind of strange we haven’t seen in a while, and I really want more.