By ROSIE SOLOMON
Starring Daniel Leclerc, Amanda Lynn Petrin, Severyn Kain
Directed by Jessy Dupont
Written by Jessy Dupont
JD FIlm Productions
DEEP WEB is a film which has all the right ingredients—a killer soundtrack, well-thought through shot list, a good storyline which keeps you guessing, and a decently-sized budget to bring it all together. Unfortunately, though, any semblance of tension is often destroyed by some clunky dialogue and some especially shoddy acting.
DEEP WEB tells the tale of Markus, a man struggling to get by in a new country, who whiles away his hours when not at work playing video games. He meets a girl, Kristina, who persuades him to pay a hacker, Dave, a fair sum of money which will get them into the deep web, and onto some games that spiral their addiction out of control. As they get more and more drawn into this world, they decide to cut out the middleman and explore the dark web of their own accord, where they stumble across a forum where heinous crimes are taking place. The people running the forum get Markus’ IP address, and so the chase begins.
DEEP WEB plays like a techno-thriller more than a horror, with some excellent editing and cinematography saving a sometimes-clunky script and occasionally some truly appalling acting. The use of some very well-placed music to create a killer soundtrack is something which will set Dupont apart from other indie filmmakers, as will his aforementioned excellent cinematography. The most enjoyable parts of the film were actually the interlinking motifs between scenes—shots of wildlife in Toronto and clouds passing over a full moon reveal that there is some real talent to be found here.
What lets this film down is, in part, the actual dialogue itself, and some of the acting. Clunky lines such as “You’re live on streaming”, “welcome to the deep web” and an incredibly misplaced discussion of whether Kristina is Markus’ girlfriend or not make it, at points, difficult to take this film seriously. Dave, played by Severyn Kain, delivers a line, “you’re screwed. You’re so screwed,” in enough of a monotone that it is pretty laughable. There are some superfluous characters as well, complicating a plot which, in the second half, seems like it is only just managing to hold itself together. Happily, Daniel Leclerc does a fantastic job playing Markus, a character who could easily have been a hugely dislikeable and problematic protagonist. But perhaps, placed opposite Amanda Lynn Petrin in her role as, Krystal, the ultimate “bad cop” cop, anyone would spark sympathy by comparison.
The framing narrative with her and Leclerc in the interrogation room really helps to keep the film on track and is cut together with ease. It keeps you guessing throughout without giving the game away, further proving that it’s not what happens but how it happens which matters. The final twist, when it comes, is the perfect deliciously satisfying send off for these characters, and pays off well. Overall, this film is a mixed bag, losing its way quite spectacularly in the sprawling second act, yet manages to save itself with some clever editing and a nice rounded-off finish. Oh, and the cinematography is a delight throughout