“Go try to be funny nowadays with this woke culture… There were articles written about why comedies don’t work anymore — I’ll tell you why, because all the fucking funny guys are like, ‘Fuck this shit, because I don’t want to offend you.’”
-Todd Phillips, an idiot, to Vanity Fair, 10/1/2019.
Several weeks ago, I convinced my wife Amanda that she might as well sign up for the streaming service Shudder. While not as high-profile as services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu, Shudder provides for a niche market: it specializes in horror entertainment. She, being a lover of the genre, required little extra nudging, and soon we were spending a scant $5-or-so per month on yet another service that I assumed would provide her with hours of entertainment.
To be honest, Shudder has not engaged me as much. I’ve perused it a couple of times, but I hardly ever find what I’m looking for. No Nightmare on Elm Street sequels (I’ve been jonesing to re-watch Dream Warriors) and no What We Do In The Shadows (I hear great things and want to check it out). It’s a lot of coming up empty-handed, and I often forget we even have the subscription.
Recently, I was on my way to pick up some take-out wings when I crossed the living room and saw her starting up a new film which had a pretty surprising intro. Wait… was she just randomly watching a porno flick? There was a mature viewers warning screen that you would associate with such films, a logo at the bottom of the screen that read “Cinerax”, and hazy footage of two half-naked people in an extravagant home rolling around in bed. What was going on here; why was she REALLY sending me out for wings?!
The movie, it turns out, was something she thought sounded interesting from the Shudder description. It was called DEEP MURDER. Not a great name, I’ll admit.
The premise of the movie is that it takes place within the universe of a porno flick, but before the characters can get down to business, one of them turns up dead. The denizens are shocked out of their established roles and have to find out who the killer is before they all reach the final climax in the sky.
The cast is mostly unknowns and people that you look at and go “where do I know them from”. Jerry O’Connell of Tomcats and Stand By Me fame is the most noteworthy actor involved. Christopher McDonald–the epitome of an actor you KNOW but have never heard his name aloud–is the stock market obsessed patriarch of the household, Richard. But it’s all for the best; a cast full of well-known actors would have turned this into a lazy parody for a paycheck. Quinn Beswick, Stephanie Drake, Chris Redd, Jessica Parker Kennedy, and the rest get to throw themselves into Deep Murder’s characters and own the roles.
The movie is an absolutely ridiculous cross-section of comedy, horror, mystery, and softcore porn. There is very little actual nudity–one full-frontal shot of a male character in the shower–but there is innuendo and temptation all over the mansion. Several characters are offed along the way until it all COMES to a HEAD.
Sorry, I’m not as funny as this movie.
And that’s the thing: this flick is a riot. I am utterly disheartened to see this movie standing at a dismal 3.8/10 on IMDb, because Deep Murder is no less than the spiritual successor to Monty Python and Airplane. It is loaded, top-to-bottom, with gags that you wrestle with describing as “so dumb it is smart” or “so smart it is dumb”. There are jokes and affects throughout that seem absolutely moronic until you think about how much creativity went into dreaming them up. It’s the banging-two-coconuts-together-to-imitate-a-horse of the 2010’s.
There are priceless moments scattered across this, from the shower scene (which is great when it shows the characters struggling to find each other for all the steam, but hits a homerun when the camera angle changes to outside of the shower), to the household’s random visitors (including a pizza delivery man and a buxom plumber), to the quick shot of the babysitter’s Thanksgiving meal. This wasn’t just a movie that forced a chuckle or two–we whole-heartedly belly-laughed at multiple moments.
A scene between star jock Jace and bumbling Detective Cross is an absolute treasure. The two stand at opposite ends of a small table, tossing a football back-and-forth as they discuss the goings-on of the house. I wish I could tell you anything they actually said, but it was impossible with the physical comedy on display. Arguably one of the most surreally funny “why am I still laughing at this?” moments I have watched in ages.
The movie isn’t going to be for everyone. If you don’t find the absurdist, non-sequitur humor of The Naked Gun worthwhile, for instance, you might not appreciate this. If you are looking for a straight murder-mystery without comedic fuss, this isn’t your jam. If you just want to watch porn, I mean… there are websites for that, so weird flex but okay. And I get all that! But there’s no way this movie deserves a 3.8 out of 10. It’s great.
Aside from Shudder, it looks like it is cheap to rent on YouTube, Vudu, and other services. I definitely recommend you seek this gem out! Unless you are the kind of moron who believes comedy is dead in the late 2010’s, and the only alternative is to lazily smush comic book references into your half-understanding of classic films. Then you do you, Todd Phillips!
Joker made a billion dollars, so what do I know?
(Deep Murder should have made a billion dollars, and Joker should be buried on Shudder. THAT’S what I know)