Every horror movie with a wintery setting and a large cast of characters seems to be some riff on The Thing in one way or another. Welcome to The Superdeep, a goopy and nasty body horror flick with impressive creature design and horrifying imagery. And yes, this too owes quite a big deal to Carpenter’s The Thing in both style and execution.
Based on real events concerning creepy sounds heard when drilling into the deepest well in the world in the Murmansk Region, a research team was the easiest window for us to traverse these dark depths. Anya takes a call and gets offered something too promising to pass up: to travel into a secret research lab 12 kilometers underground. The plan is to go in, take samples, and leave. She will get all credit of the discovery and be in charge of the new biological defense institute. Sounds easy enough right? It doesn’t take long to realize something evil is lurking this far underground, where man was never meant to traverse…
It took me some time to get invested in this because of the flat and lifeless English voice-performances of the dubbed film on Shudder. I was hoping the subtitled version would be on offer as well, but no luck. Eventually I got adjusted to the lifeless delivery of the lines, and became anxious and invested in the characters. Once the bone-popping grossness of the story starts becoming more prevalent, I was hooked. Something about the image of noxious gases leaking out of dirty-looking spores is so aesthetically pleasing and disturbing.
Lead badass female (and obvious Ripley stand-in) Anya is played with urgency by Milena Radulovic, a performance that nearly reaches the depraved depths of The Descent’s final girl, Sarah. She is the one character who isn’t negatively affected by the stilted voice dubbing. Following her across a runtime of just about two hours is a constant treat. Being an avid epidemiologist (“I study how to die”), Anya is fiercely intelligent almost by default.
Minor gripes aside, The Superdeep is a terrific and gnarly, old-school horror sci fi movie that honors the greats by wearing its references on its sleeves. The mold is beautiful and striking, similar to the effects of Annihilation. Ecological horror has been done dozens of times before—see: Gaia, The Ruins, The Bay, and The Happening just to name a few—but never quite like this. The terror takes the form of a fungus that releases spores which infect their victims and change them irrevocably. Once you breath it in, you are pretty much just screwed. The centerpiece is a big, horrifying creature consisting of a bunch of bodies fused and melded together. It is just as stunning as it sounds, evoking Resident Evil monsters and (what a surprise) Carpenter’s The Thing. If slow-burn throwback creature features of yesteryear are your personal favorite horror flavor, you really can’t go wrong with The Superdeep.
The Superdeep drills deep underground when it comes to Shudder on June 17th.