The OCS Signature Original Movie “Deep Fear” airs tonight on OCS Choc. Actors Victor Meutelet (“Le Bazar de la Charité”) and Kassim Meesters (“Coyotes”) tell us about the shooting of this horror film in the vein of “The Descent”.
After L’Invitation, broadcast at the end of last year with Guillaume Gouix, Margot Bancilhon, and Alysson Paradis in the main roles, OCS is once again trying its hand at genre film with Deep Fear, a new OCS Signature unit which will be available this Wednesday April 20 at 8:40 p.m. on OCS Choc and will also be available on demand.
Directed by Grégory Beghin (Losers Revolution) and written by Niko Tackian (Alex Hugo), Deep Fear follows Sonia (Sofia Lesaffre), Max (Kassim Meesters), and Henry (Victor Meutelet), three young students, freshly graduated, who decide to have fun being convinced by Ramy (Joseph Olivennes) to go explore the catacombs of Paris.
They are unfortunately far from suspecting that their expedition will turn into a nightmare. Because Sonia and her acolytes will have to try everything to escape a strange creature hiding in the bowels of the Earth. But will they manage to reach the surface and save themselves from the clutches of Hell before it’s too late?
On the occasion of the first broadcast of Deep Fear tonight on OCS Choc, Victor Meutelet (Grand Hôtel, Le Bazar de la Charité, Emily in Paris) and Kassim Meesters, revealed by the Netflix series Coyotes, tell us behind the scenes of the shooting of this harrowing and suffocating horror film.
AlloCiné: Even if works like Titane and La Nuée have recently proven that we know how to make genre films more than ever in France, horror films remain rarer in French-speaking countries than in the United States or the Kingdom -United. When a proposal like Deep Fear comes up, is it hard for an actor to pass up the opportunity to try their hand at horror and survival?
Kassim Meesters : I’m a big consumer of horror movies, it’s a genre that touches me a lot. Especially English-language films because, by default, it’s true, there are a lot more of them in the United States or the United Kingdom. I’ve always watched a lot so when I knew I was going to be able to make one I said to myself “Ok, it’s going to be so cool, I’m going to have a lot of fun”. As a horror fan, it was indeed hard to refuse.
Victor Meutelet : For my part, I’m not really fond of horror films at the base, but it is sure that when you receive a proposal like this, it stands out naturally. There are certain types of projects that one can read regularly, which are less surprising. Whereas a film like Deep Fear is clearly apart.
On the other hand, I watched quite a few horror films afterwards because the director, Grégory Beghin, had quite a few references in mind which he shared with us. And I wanted to take a look.
What were his credentials?
Victor Meutelet: There was obviously The Descent, which we necessarily think a little for the side “locked underground with one or more creatures”. But his main reference was It Follows. And in fact I realize that it’s a bad example because I had seen that one (laughs).
When he told us about it at the very first meeting, he told us “This film is very important to me, I want to do something in that direction”. And I was ultra hot because the film had also marked me quite a bit. So I watched it again before shooting Deep Fear.
A film like Deep Fear, which takes place almost entirely underground, is necessarily a bit special to make and shoot. How did you experience filming?
Kassim Meesters: It’s obvious that it’s not every day that you get chased down corridors six feet underground. But we get used to it pretty quickly. As I consume a lot of horror films, I always said to myself “I could see myself doing it”. So there was a real excitement, and it’s almost innate because you want to redo what you saw on the screen. It’s super exhilarating.
And what’s great is that we had the opportunity to shoot in real locations. This means that we don’t have much to invent in the end to believe it. We shot the whole film in Belgium. It was in basements, in forts in the Liège region.
Victor Meutelet: The part that is different about Deep Fear is that there is actually something more physical. We run a lot, we are dragged on the ground, we scream a lot. But in the end, our goal, on any film, is to try to make a situation as believable as possible. So, of course, in a movie like this, you’re chased by some kind of creature and you hear a whole bunch of weird sounds, but ultimately the acting job is the same as in any other movie. All of this has to seem believable to the viewer.
And Kassim is right when he says that when you shoot on real sets, half the work is already done. When you run in huge corridors, after 200 meters of running, you’re really out of breath (laughs). You have to play the game thoroughly anyway, you have to be fully in it. It’s crazy this kind of project, we’re on a wire. And if there is one in the batch that is not thoroughly, it can quickly become ridiculous.
Wasn’t the shoot too claustrophobic?
Kassim Meesters: Yes, a little (laughs). I remember that when the casting director called me, even before sending me the script, he said to me “I wanted to offer you something, but tell me, are you cloistered or not?”. And I hadn’t really measured the extent of the thing, I hadn’t invented myself a cloister before doing it. But by dint of it, on set, it could sometimes be a bit complicated (laughs).
Victor Meutelet: In truth, it’s really you who had the most cloistered sequences on the film. Every time you had to go through a very small cat flap, you were the one who stuck to it! So respect. I don’t know if I would have gone there (laughs).
Kassim Meesters: It worked well because my character, Max, is afraid of everything, he combines all the fears of the viewer, so it was logical that he was the one we followed in these complicated situations. But it was funny, I really loved this experience. There is something quite challenging about this kind of shooting.
Victor Meutelet: We laughed a lot at the start with this question “Are you cloistered?”. We didn’t really understand why the production kept asking us the question. I was like, ‘Relax guys, it’s just a movie’.
And finally, the day before the shooting, they took us to see the sets and we entered these Belgian forts from the Second World War which barely protrude from the ground. You’re in the middle of a field and you understand that there’s a huge building buried a bit below. You go down steps for ten minutes, then you arrive in corridors where you get lost very quickly, it’s a labyrinth, without a flashlight you can’t see anything. There is a really scary side.
Small budget obliges, was the filming much faster than for a major TV movie or a movie?
Victor Meutelet: It went quickly, we had 17 days of shooting. We must say bravo to Grégory, the director, because if everything had not been well thought out beforehand, it could have quickly become complicated.
Still, there were some really busy days. You see how many sequences there are to do, you take an hour to get the gear down, an hour to get everything back up, it’s barely daylight you’re already in the dark downstairs, and you come out it’s already dark . These days, super intense, were quite hard. But this kind of economy of means gives an energy and a cachet to the film that we might not have had otherwise.
Is there a scene from the film that particularly marked you during the filming?
Victor Meutelet: There is this scene during which I am dragged on my back. The stuntman says to me “Did you put on your back plate correctly?”, I answer him “Yes yes”, but I’m hot so I take it off at some point and I forget to put it back on for the first take.
I am therefore pulled on the back and after 50 cm I say to myself “Ah thin, the dorsal plate”. And I yell like hell and Greg says to me “It’s good, yell less”. Except that my back was really dismantled at that time, I was in great pain, and he thinks that I’m just making cases for the needs of the stage (laughs).
Kassim Meesters: There are a lot of great scenes. One of which I can’t mention too much so as not to spoiler. But I particularly liked the sequence with the rats. People will understand when they see the film. The decor was super impressive, there was water, real rats everywhere, we really lived the horror movie, it was super cool.
And what made me laugh too much is that Joseph Olivennes, who plays Ramy, is extremely afraid of rats, he hates it. And in this story he plays the band guide. So he had to take us down this hallway and throughout the filming we kept saying, “There will be this scene with rats soon” and he never said anything, he quickly evacuated the subject.
And finally the day of shooting this sequence arrives, we are at the very back of the fort, very far from the exit, and we say to him “That’s it Joseph, the rats are there”, and all of a sudden he becomes everything White. He hardly said anything the day after. His phobia was extreme. We laughed for five minutes, but in reality it wasn’t funny. We quickly realized that it was very difficult for him. Especially since the trainer threw the rats at us for the purposes of the scene (laughs). It was a big moment.
Do you think a sequel is possible if successful?
Victor Meutelet: Without spoilers, we can say that we can imagine a lot of things around this story and this “creature”. We don’t know at all if the production is considering a sequel or a spin-off, but it’s certain that if Deep Fear is successful, there could be a direct sequel or a prequel in “Deep Fear: origins”. Why not, yes. Anyway, that would be pretty funny.
Can you tell us a word about your respective projects?
Victor Meutelet: In November I will be showing the feature film Rascals by Jimmy Laporal-Trésor. The film takes place in 1984 and tells the story of the gang war in Paris between neo-Nazi skinheads and young people from housing estates, young people from the third or fourth generation of immigrants. It’s quite violent.
And I have another film called Filip, which is directed by Michael Kwieciński and which I shot in Poland. It’s a war film that takes place in Frankfurt in 1943. But we are not at the front, the action is told from the point of view of the waiters in the hotels in particular.
Kassim Meesters: For my part, I played a small role in the next film by Black Swan Tales, the production company of Deep Fear. It’s an English film, it was quite fun to shoot. And I have the Coyotes series which is still available on Netflix. It’s my news at the moment, but it’s an adventure that has been going on for a while in Belgium, so the release on Netflix worldwide at the end of last year was a bit of a consecration.
Can we expect a season 2 of Coyotes?
Kassim Meesters: I don’t know at all, I don’t have any info yet. I just know that the series has been watched quite a bit in England, the United States, Brazil. We got a lot of feedback from there. In any case, I loved shooting this series, so I would very much like there to be a season 2.