The Superdeep (2020) Is Icy Hell Best Left Unexplored
Title: The Superdeep
First Wide Release: November 4, 2020 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)
Director: Arseny Syuhin
Writer: Samuel Stewart Hunter, Arseny Syuhin
Runtime: 113 Minutes
Starring: First Three Actors on IMDB Page + Anyone Else Relevant
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
A stoic and brilliant scientist, Anya (Milena Radulovic), is tasked with a leading a group of researchers into a research facility hidden deep under the tundra in rural Russia. Before it is sealed up forever, the team must uncover the information discovered by the researchers left behind before it is sealed forever. To their horror, the team realizes that the accident that prompted their arrival could mean deadly consequences. With limited information and time, it’s up to the team to fight back and save themselves, but more importantly, the world.
The Superdeep is a travesty of horror filmmaking despite its incredible special effects, beautiful cinematography, and unique premise.
I am so bummed about this film. I can’t hide it. What starts with a brilliant setup falls down fast–faster than the drop it takes to reach the underground station, I’m sure. Its story never gets developed to the point where an audience member should be expected to care. Character’s motivations pop up out of nowhere to serve only as plot progression points and feel disingenuous. The actual antagonist is amorphous. Which would be fine if it was just a function of its horror and not a metaphor for how this film handles it.
Is it a parasite that infects its host and kills them from the inside by transforming them into weird things? Does it infect its victims and turn them into ravenous zombie like creatures that hunt without thought or reason? Is it a collection of all that it has claimed wrapped up in one giant, blobby monster capable of stalking, finding, and collecting more victims? Yes? The film never really attempts to nail down the rules of this thing. To me, it’s more important that the characters discover that if they touch the monster or breathe the air, they will become infected rather than detailing its origins all the way back to this prehistoric era and how it was frozen in this one. One of these is observation and the other is speculation. Just imagine what a team of researchers would be spending more time on over the other.
These bizarre beat changes serve mostly to make the film feel more cinematic. It tries to be too many things at once and fails at nearly all of them. Its characters are bland and one-dimensional and are played as such by the cast. The dialogue is clunky and expository in a way that doesn’t feel natural at all. Topping it off with choppy editing and molasses pacing, The Superdeep just doesn’t hit the mark in a lot of ways.
It isn’t all bad. The Superdeep shines brightest when it is putting its masterclass special effects on display. Its creature is a marvel to behold. Creative, unique, and altogether frightening, it is a shame that the movie tanks so bad because it is beyond cool. From its movements and visual terror to its compelling origin story, the monster here makes up for the largely bungled 90% of the rest of the movie. Aside from this, it also boasts some stunning cinematography. It looks like a long-lost downbeat relic from the 80s that could be billed with The Thing, if it was a much, much, much better film, of course. From baking in the Earth’s core to flying over the snow-covered mountains, The Superdeep understands it is a visual feast first.
The worst thing about The Superdeep is how it makes every mistake in the book and ruins what could have been a fun or exciting creature feature. Outside of a few technical feats, there is nothing special here. The story is flat, the characters are static, and the action is largely forgettable. It’s almost as The Superdeep was created by an AI tasked with watching hundreds of hours of monster movies and writing a script based on what it learned. There’s no soul or passion behind the prehistoric entity inciting carnage against cold steel deep underneath the Russian tundra. The only place this film belongs is super deep in the bowels of whichever streaming service’s catalogue it resides.
Overall Score? 3.5/10