Deep Dark, a strange tale of failed artistry, is by no means a failed attempt as a film. Sporting a sinister grin and premise that’s we’ve truly never seen before, Michael Medaglia’s low-budget horror satire is, if nothing else, short on scintillating. Recalling shades of the schlocky A Bucket of Blood – a late 50s film of a talentless artist who finds success in entombing dead animals in plaster – Deep Dark is a Corman-esque exploration of the lengths and degradation one will put themselves in for an iota of fame.
Hermann Haig (Sean McGrath), a struggling artist, has given it all trying to make it in the art world. He goes to incredible lengths to impress Devora Klein (Anne Sorce) of the Devora Klein Gallery, concocting a “Blood. Sweat. Tears.” helicopter contraption that goes horribly awry at her gallery, accidentally splattering everyone and everything with blood. However, even as Hermann thinks he’s destroyed his one big chance in the artistic sphere, there still might still be hope, perhaps even a solution to his artistic woes.
As luck would have it, his Uncle Felix (John Nielsen) has an apartment he can rent for $800 per month, which would let Hermann get focused and finally channel his inner artist. Unfortunately, Hermann can only afford two-weeks worth of rent, which should be more than enough time for him to impress Devora.
But just as Hermann begins to lose hope he finds a Hole in the wall of his new digs, which soon begins to speak to him (voiced by Denise Poirier). If this wasn’t creepy enough, this talking Hole soon begins to grow, expanding as Hermann’s fame and ego expands. It turns out the Hole has the power to pass a sort of artistic inspiration to Hermann, and becomes smitten with him as the relationship grows. Naturally, as the Hole grants Hermann what he most desires, the lovelorn Hole in the wall proves to be a jealous ‘lover’, leading to a relationship he just can’t quit. Yikes!
Deep Dark is a pleasant surprise, presenting a truly unique ‘love’ story that is both creative and entertaining as it explores the convergence of art and sexuality. The film’s bizarre nature is captivating, its unique “villain” certainly has to go down as one of the strangest and most unique villains in recent movie history. Apart from all that, it’s also an interesting choice and creative update to the classic cautionary tale of the artist who sells his soul for fame.
However minimalist Deep Dark may appear, this is low-budget filmmaking at its finest with some impressive cinematography from Francisco Bulgarelli, whose professional looking photography adds to its polished and professional look. The film never feels cheap or schlocky, despite its premise or sub-budget, yet still managing to hold on and grab your attention; much like the lovelorn Hole in the wall!
Deep Dark is a unique look into a bizarre world where desperate artists will do anything and everything they can to revel in the glory of fame. The ridiculous premise, and its tongue-in-cheek approach, are what makes the film work as well as it does, never feeling too comical or taking itself entirely too serious. Instead of self-parody, here’s a low-budget gem that manages to be a creative venture into the world of art and the strangest sexuality you can imagine.