Director/Screenplay – Michael Medaglia, Producers – Lara Cuddy, Jason Freeman, Todd Freeman, Michael Medaglia & David Woods, Photography – Francisco Bulgarelli, Music – Auditory Sculpture, Visual Effects – Mike Quinn, Special Effects Supervisor – Christina Kortum, Production Design – Rebecca Micciche. Production Company – Polluted Pictures
Sean McGrath (Hermann Haig), Anne Sorce (Devora Klein), Denise Poirier (Voice of The Hole), Tabor Helton (Joel Windle), Monica Graves (Layla), Mary McDonald-Lewis (Hermann’s Mother), John Nielsen (Uncle Felix), Don Alder (Art Hustler)
Hermann Haig is desperate for recognition as an artist but has been having zero success with his mobiles. Hermann’s mother then announces that she is renting out his room. Forced to move out, Hermann in desperation appeals to his Uncle Felix who has sold out and is having commercial success as an artist. Uncle Felix offers to rent an apartment in a building he owns. After an attempt to exhibit with gallery owner Devora Klein goes badly wrong, Hermann agrees to take the apartment. Soon after moving in, Hermann hears a voice talking to him through a hole in the wall. The voice then starts sending written messages of encouragement through the hole in the wall, followed by items for Hermann to use in his mobiles. After selling these, he suddenly starts to have enormous success. However, the hole in the wall is lonely and becomes possessive of Hermann, even wanting him to make love to it. Next, when Hermann becomes involved with Devora, the hole starts to get jealous.
Deep Dark is a debut film for US director/writer Michael Medaglia. Deep Dark played several primarily fantastic film festivals but failed to attain much notice.
I must admit to taking some time to becoming engaged in the film. The humour seemed to be pitched as a conte cruel arranged against its long-suffering character. During these scenes, Michael Medaglia seemed to lack the ability to make Herman’s woes transpire as anything more than a single-tone shrug of “oh poor me” misery. There is nothing akin to the way the Coen Brothers, for instance, turn the miseries and afflictions they arraign against the lead characters in their films into something hilariously black. Nor does Sean McGrath’s non-assertive, sad sack performance do much to ignite the film.
That said, there is the sudden point about the half-hour mark when Deep Dark starts to come together. Michael Medaglia takes us deep into something that approaches the headspace of the Coen Brothers’ Barton Fink (1991) in Sean McGrath’s efforts to find a breakthrough as an artist. And then there comes the introduction of The Hole and the peculiar relationship he develops with it – one part artistic inspiration, the other part her controlling obsessiveness. I kept being reminded of Eraserhead (1977) and Jack Nance’s strange relationship with the Girl in the Radiator. Maybe you could refer to the film as being somewhere between Barton Fink Lite and the Radiator Girl sequences. The film reaches an appealingly twisted level when it gets to scenes of Sean McGrath dropping his pants to sexually satisfy the Hole and the climactic scenes with Anne Sorce trying to wrest the bleeding hole out with a jackhammer so as to revive her own artistic inspiration. All of which leaves you with an aura of strangeness that is undeniably fascinating.