At first glance, SUPERDEEP (2021, streaming on Shudder) looks like it’s going to offer a cheesy good time. A late Cold War Soviet underground research station at the bottom of a borehole, a ticking clock, a monster that if released could destroy all life on the planet, and tough Soviet commandos. It is strangely compelling yet a ridiculous mess. I don’t know how they botched this, but they did.
It’s the 1980s, and the Cold War will soon come to an end. Anya is a scientist working on a vaccine to treat Soviet soldiers fighting in Africa. Using highly unethical methods, she succeeds. Suddenly, she gets a call from her mentor, who tasks her with a new mission: accompany a team of soldiers to secure an underground research facility where a strange disease outbreak is occurring. Down the shaft they go, straight into survival horror. Can they get out? And can they get the thing that’s down there from getting out?
Again, this all promises a simple good time. Soviet Union, 1980s, remote research lab, survival horror with a disease/monster element. Count me in. Very quickly, though, it all goes wrong. The dialogue is horrendous, the actors seem to ad-lib plot twists and characterization on the fly, sophisticated precautions against deadly disease are used randomly, a budding romance hinges on a flirty motif, it borrows a little heavily from ALIEN and THE THING, and there are enough plot holes and wackiness that you end up laughing at how nuts it is.
I didn’t give up on it; I couldn’t, as it was all so weird I had to keep going, and besides that, the creature element is pretty cool. While I was watching, I kept picturing what it could have been with a few simple changes. Let the script be in Russian with English subtitles, keep the plot simple with realistic problems, make the characters rational, real people, and bang, it could have been amazing. I thought, what a great idea, I hope somebody makes this movie one day.
I hope none of this sounds mean, because some people obviously poured their hearts into it, and it is weirdly compelling and kinda fun for the monster and the setting. But I recommend going into this one with your willing suspension of disbelief cranked up to 11.