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Sunday, 31 May 2009

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - Black Water

Only ten days to go before my review deadline for the year of 2008 is up, so it is time to do some major cramming in, what with the awards season and various other films released in the year to catch up with. Now, earlier on in the year, we received a real oddity of a film by the name of Rogue, a good enough horror film with the concept being that there is a giant crocodile involved in causing mayhem. Just when you thought that it was unanimous that Rogue would win the award for "Best Movie Involving Crocodile As Dramatic Device" by default, in comes another crocodile horror movie (as if one happens often, we have two), set once again in the Australian outback, except with an obvious difference in the budget of the two films, even if Rogue in itself was low-budget. Once again, as with many of these concept, exploitation-esque movies, plot gets thrown away to the side, and we have a couple and one of their younger relatives go on holiday in the Australian outback, and bad things start happening involving a nasty crocodile. Thats all you need to know. The movie itself gets to the point as fast as possible, no questions asked. Like any good exploitation film, completely scunders plot and focuses on the terror. The best thing about Black Water is it's direction. A low budget movie clearly shot on a shoestring with two directors at the helm who clearly have no past experience and are making their first film, Andrew Traucki and David Nerlich pull off the direction of this film well, keeping it well structured and having a good degree of tension from start to finish. This is also helped by the camera-work involved, which is given a great degree of realism and edginess, of which was lacking in the almost fantastical manner is which Rogue was filmed. Truth be told, for a clear and obvious exploitation movie that is not attempting to do anything special, be it in plot, script or character development whatsover, it does what it clearly needs to and gets the job done. However, like I said, this film is not attempting to do anything special whatsoever, and thus, because it is clearly a grindhouse-esque exploitation movie, you cannot believe in any way that this is a believable movie. Like many of them, it is based on a true story, and thus, the limitations of the true story and the concept (we spend roughly an hour of the film stuck in trees with the protagonists) certainly impinge on the artistic product. For example, this is a script that is so dry with regards to dialogue that is actually does sound like sound-bites from a hundred different films of the "crocodile chases man" genre (for further reference, that was sarcasm). Then, the film's script tries to over-complicate itself by playing off an old fable about the monkey and the crocodile and the two sisters having experiences in the terrible weather of the night: there is no need to over-complicate yourself. We know that you are a dirty, grungy film, do not try to change what you are. One thing which is a rather great shame is that there were only shots of the weather of the night in a three minute at most scene which encompasses their terrible experiences in the night. I really wish I could have seen a terrifying night sequence. Didn't the crocodiles attempt to snap at them while in the tree earlier? Surely while they are sleeping (don't ask me how in monsoon rain and thunder) that is the best time too attack. And wouldn't the water rise in those weather conditions? That would have been a great dramatic device. They have to move on because of the rising water, but can't see well in the dark, only getting glimpses in the thunder of the attacking crocodile. Maybe I could've directed this? Anyway, post-rant, the only other thing that I have to complain about is that the acting performances in the film are also rather poor. To summarise, the film is fundamentally flawed, with poor acting, script and ridiculousness, but is well directed and has some nice cinematography which gives some good scares, and is at times quite a solid exploitation film. Maybe I could nail this genre?

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 5.2/10

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