Under the direction of Marcus Adams, ‘Deep Fear’ dives into shark-infested waters of the Caribbean. The 2023 thriller film revolves around Naomi, who is sailing on a solo trip to Grenada, going home to her boyfriend, Jackson (Ed Westwick). Weathering a storm, Naomi’s boat veers off course, and she comes across two survivors of a shipwreck.
Once she pulls them on board, they introduce themselves as Maria and Jose, and inform her of a third survivor trapped in the shipwreck. However, before she can contact the authorities, they destroy her radio and reveal themselves to be smugglers. Wanting her to retrieve their shipment of cocaine from the bottom of the ocean, they force Naomi to don scuba diving gear and jump in.
Diving for the shipwreck, Naomi is stalked by the horrors of the murky depths – tiger sharks. Attacked by the voracious predators, she seeks refuge within the boat’s remains, and is trapped, with oxygen running out. Elsewhere, Jackson works towards mobilizing a rescue party in search of the unresponsive Naomi. With most of the film transpiring in the open ocean, one might ponder the filming process behind its nerve-wracking scenes, and if it was actually shot in Caribbean waters.
Deep Fear Filming Locations
‘Deep Fear’ was filmed around the Mediterranian Island nation of Malta, and not the Caribbean as portrayed in the movie. Shooting was carried out in a studio as well as on location in Valletta, and off its coast in the Mediterranean Sea. Principal photography began on February 28, 2022, and was wrapped up after six weeks in mid-April of the same year.
Filming in Malta at this time meant facing extremely cold weather, with the actors and diving film crew bearing the harsh conditions for prolonged durations. Lead actress Mãdãlina Ghenea took to social media to express that it was the hardest experience of her life, and yet highly fulfilling. Let’s venture to the Maltese filming sites and locales put to use by the film crew.
The capital of Malta and its surrounding areas became a primary filming location for ‘Deep Fear.’ The walled city of Valletta is a 16th-century colony, which is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage city due to its well-preserved historic cityscape. “Having looked at many locations around the world, we felt that Malta, with its state-of-the-art facilities, talented and experienced crew and breath-taking locations – was the perfect fit for ‘Deep Fear,’” said producer O’Kelly in an interview.
The Kalkara village (Il-Kalkara) lies south of Valletta and saw the bulk of ‘Deep Fear’ filmed in the Malta Film Studio on Saint Rocco Street. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology and a seaside location boasting crystal-clear waters, the studios provided an ideal environment for ‘Deep Fear’ in capturing its aquatic scenes. It houses one indoor tank and two large outdoor water tanks built along the coast, having the open ocean as a natural horizon. The film crew members of ‘Deep Fear’ were seen making extensive use of the outdoor tanks of the facility to simulate their waterborne scenes.
Mark Silk, the cinematographer for ‘No Time To Die,’ was brought on board as the director of photography, and called in a team of professional divers and cameramen for the aquatic sequences. To simulate special effects, including the sharks, London-based LipSync Postproduction was tasked with the job. “My approach with ‘Deep Fear’ is to feature the shark very sparingly,” said director Adams in the aforementioned interview. “The imagination always creates far greater fear than any visual. Combining LipSync’s masterful VFX with Mark Silk’s world-beating underwater cinematography and the breath-taking locations will ensure we create a fresh and exhilarating addition to the genre.” The studio has previously been utilized in films such as ‘Orca The Killer Whale’ ‘White Squall,’ ‘Captain Phillips,’ and ‘Cutthroat Island.’
Other Locations in Malta
The Filmmakers took to the open sea as well as other regions of Malta to lens certain sequences of ‘Deep Fear.’ These include the northeastern Islands, Gozo, and Comino, of the Maltese archipelago. Zoomed-out shots of Naomi’s boat in the open water were not done at the studio, but on location in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of the islands.