What sort of terrors lie deep beneath Earth’s surface? Shudder’s latest original film from Russia, The Superdeep, explores this idea, and throws in a little Lovecraftian horror while it’s at it.
Soviet Era Horror
Opening up in black and white, with strong arthouse aesthetic, The Superdeep shows us a team of scientists and their discovery that turns deadly. We see a man who was used as a test subject suffer great pain and grotesque wounds as they rush to save his life.
We are then introduced to our protagonist Anya (Milena Radulovic) as she celebrates New Year’s Eve, complete with Mikhail Gorbachev giving his address, setting this in the Soviet Union in the late 80s/early 90s.
Anya then receives a call about this disaster in the underground facility out in the middle of the Russian countryside. Her orders are to enter the facility, obtain a sample of whatever it is that’s caused the disaster, and have no regard or concern for any of the people there.
The Thing Meets Colour Out of Space
The snow-covered landscape that is the entrance will immediately conjure up images of John Carpenter’s The Thing. But once inside, things get very Lovecraftian. Anya is accompanied by a few soldiers, whom she doesn’t fully trust.
It seems like they’re definitely trying to hide something, which becomes all the more evident when Anya finds a survivor whose body displays a gruesome transformation that is sure to get under the audience’s skin (no pun intended).
Where this movie really shines is in its body horror imagery and design. The Superdeep seamlessly blends practical and digital effects for some unforgettably horrific visuals. The kinds of visuals that make your skin very itchy just seeing them.
But it’s not just about the grotesque imagery. There’s a real sense of dread and despair as the people who are affected just exist in total agony. Along with a sense of alarm, at the idea that whatever this contamination is, it could very easily escape this facility, and get into the world if not properly contained and neutralized.
A Bit Derivative…
While The Superdeep does some amazing work with its visuals, story and character-wise, it’s not really anything we haven’t seen before. It certainly evokes imagery and themes similar to the aforementioned classics (with a bit of Event Horizon thrown in too), but it doesn’t really do anything to set itself apart that way. It’s well made, but it’s not unique enough to really stand out.
Despite all this, it still makes for a fun watch, and if you’re a fan of creative, cringe-inducing body horror, it’ll be right up your alley. Or should we say, right down your classified underground facility…
What did you think of Superdeep? Let us know in the comments!
The Superdeep is streaming exclusively on Shudder