Spoiler-Free Film Reviews: GODS OF THE DEEP and THE VEIL (H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival)

October 12, 2023

Written by Joseph Perry

Joseph Perry is the Film Festival Editor for Horror Fuel; all film festival related queries and announcements should be sent to him at josephperry@gmail.com. He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.

Gods of the Deep (U.K., 2023)


Last year, prolific director Charlie Steeds’s Freeze played Portland’s H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, and this year his new film Gods of the Deep had its world premiere there. Steeds makes practically all manner of horror films, and his recent one-two punch of Lovecraftian horror is some of his strongest work yet. Gods of the Deep finds Jim Peters (Derek Nelson of Freeze) carrying on the research of his father, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances. He is invited by a corporation that he mistrusts to join a crew that will take the highest-tech submersible ever developed to the depths of the ocean to explore what looks like an ancient man-made structure. Subterfuge, action, cosmic horror mayhem, and creature-feature creepiness abound as the crew makes a discovery of unexpected life deep in the ocean. Steeds works miracles with his budgets, and though the special effects in Gods of the Deep sometimes show that the budget might be low, what he pulls off with practical effects is an old-school blast. For example, the command center of the submersible is reminiscent of those found in classic Irwin Allen television series, and I mean that as a high compliment. The creature effects here are also endearing to monster kids like yours truly, giving the film additional charm. The story, conflict, and drama are all keenly developed, and Steeds paces the proceedings masterfully. The cast is terrific, and along with Nelson, features Steeds regulars such as Makenna Guyler (Steeds’ The Barge People [2018]), Rory Wilton (Freeze), Rowena Bentley (Steeds’ Winterskin [2018]), and Tim Cartwright (Steeds’ A Werewolf in England [2020]), among others. U.K. horror filmmakers are churning out some of the most imaginative and effective independent fright fare being made today, and Steeds is among those at the forefront.


You can check out the trailer here


The Veil (U.S., 2023)



Retired priest Douglas (Sean O’Bryan) is haunted — in more ways than one — by a decision he made in the past in writer/director Cameron Beyl’s The Veil. As a younger man decades earlier (Will Tranfo), Douglas made the decision not to help a young Amish woman when she pleaded for him to let her get in his car to escape someone. He drove away alone, and has spent time over the years wondering what happened to her. In the present, an Amish woman named Hannah (Rebekah Kennedy, who was excellent in Two Witches [2021])  comes to his home seeking assistance, and he attempts to make up for his past decision by aiding her. Circumstances become mysterious, though, and an aurora-producing solar storm adds to the gravity of the situation. O’Bryan and Kennedy display fine chemistry together in their engaging portrayals of their troubled characters. Beyl’s film is a wonderfully helmed and paced slow burner, a character study with supernatural elements that gradually reveal themselves. 



Gods of the Deep and The Veil screened as part of  H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, which took place in Portland, Oregon from October 6–8, 2023. For more information, visit  https://hplfilmfestival.com/.

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