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By Steve Anderson | April 5, 2007

In what has to be one of the strangest concepts I’ve seen in a good long while, “The Deepening” brings us the story of a firefighter gone slasher-grade insane following his tour during the tragedy of 9/11.
There’s a lot of reason to be concerned about this one right off the bat. One, firefighters have enjoyed universal hero status ever since September Eleventh–making one of them a chop-happy serial killer is going to really, really piss some people off. Two, a hearkening back to the dark old days of eighties slasher flicks (as evidenced by our acting slate–Gunnar Hansen and Debbie Rochon, for example) doesn’t bode all that well. It’s hard to get originality points for a movie that uses an engine that was out of date back when George the Elder was in office.

Perhaps even more unsettling is that this is “based on a true story”. Which is of course a red flag large enough to cover Wyoming–how much of this movie actually happened and how much of it is Alderman and O’Rear trying to get publicity points is really anybody’s guess. And of course, it’s a slasher flick, right down to the axe killing within the first three minutes and the first appearance of titties in the first ten. And, even better, the killing of the promiscuous within the first FIFTEEN minutes. It amazes me that they didn’t just dispense with the pleasantries and title this movie “Psycho Fireman”. Or better yet, from the way they ride the 9/11 pony–trust me, you’ll hear “Nine Eleven” way more often in this movie than you’ll want to–they might as well have called it “Psycho Ground Zero Fireman” or “September Eleventh Slasher Fireman”.

In what may be the worst part about all this, they take themselves very, very seriously. This isn’t a parody, folks…they’re actually using all the old conventions. Dream sequence killings aplenty. Sex, drugs and rock and roll. Gunnar Hansen as a psychopath playing doctor. Debbie Rochon’s titties. Red herrings. If they didn’t keep pounding the 9/11 drum so incessantly there’d be almost no way to tell that this movie wasn’t shot in 1985!

There’s really not much good to say about “The Deepening”, sadly. It’s a throwback to the bad old days of endless slasher movies, and worse yet, it plays on a national tragedy for plot fodder. The acting is generally sub-par and comprised largely of no-names. Sure, Hansen and Rochon are consummate professionals who treat this low-budget slop like an actual project, but in all honesty, that pays it a lot more credit than it deserves. Though even with these two, let’s face it–we’ve seen it all before: Rochon as screaming victim running away and eventually getting caught and killed, Hansen as part-time psychologist and part-time gibbering blood-drenched psychopath who shows up every time there’s a pentagram on screen and also looks vaguely like Colonel Sanders.
The ending is just all kinds of ludicrous as the movie sinks to a new low, incorporating pictures of 9/11 into the plot as “flashback” scenes. I won’t even comment on the missed placement of the explosive squibs involved. And the twist ending is downright insulting. All in all, “The Deepening” is a confused, blood-soaked mess that has to plunder a national grave for plot material and hopes to coast to at least minor-league success on the strength of its limited star power. I’m repulsed by this sick display of unoriginal, pointless material.

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