Alicia Veliz – Guest Writer
(Mild Spoilers Ahead)
Black Water: Abyss is the sequel to 2007 Australian horror film Black Water which was inspired by the true story of a crocodile attack in the Northern Territory of Australia in December 2003 where a pregnant woman, her boyfriend and sister are terrorised by a ferocious crocodile while taking a boat tour of a mangrove swamp. This sequel comes 13 years after the original. Now was it worth the wait? Let me break it down for you guys.
Here two couples get together for what should have been a casual weekend adventure trip of spelunking. It is apparent from the start that main couple Eric (Luke Mitchell) and Jennifer (Jessica McNamee) are going through some issues but, they put on a brave front for their friends Yolanda (Amalie Golden) and Viktor (Benjamin Hoetjes). Viktor is a recovering cancer patient and his girlfriend Yolanda is hiding the fact that she is expecting. He is hesitant at first to go on the trip, but she encourages him due to the fact that his illness is now in remission and life is short…. blah, blah, blah.
The goal of the trip is to explore a subterranean cave that was recently discovered by Eric’s friend, Cash (Anthony J. Sharpe) who is already hiding the fact that two Japanese hikers have already been reported as missing while exploring the same region.
There are added complications when they ignore the impending storm warning and end up trapped in the underground cave while the water begins to rise. And to add fuel to fire something sinister is lurking in the murky waters hunting them down one by one. The minimal use of special effects and gore, especially during the attack scenes, are masked brilliantly by muddy water and swishes of blood to hint that the victim is definitely a goner. There is even an attack sequence where you are actually hearing the bones of the victim crunching in between the shrieks of pain without seeing too much of the attack itself.
Another plus is the achievement of the claustrophobic atmosphere in the caves between the scenes where the water was slowly rising. There are also the underwater swimming sequences where you as the audience are left wondering if when the swimmers try to resurface whether they will be able to rise above the water for air, or if they will drown before they can find the next exit point. In addition to the tight dark spaces and opaque water you are constantly looking out for the tell-tale bubbles as your first indication of the menacing monster’s approach. It is an excellent build up of suspense without the typical jump scare trope of horror movies.
There is not a lot of character development, but it is meaty enough to treat you to a bit of Telenovela-styled drama when it is revealed as to why Eric and Jen are having relationship issues. In a lot of ways, I thought this to be a far superior movie to Crawl (2019) which used way too much special effects, combined with the ridiculous decisions made by the female lead.
Unfortunately, I lowered my original rating for Black Water: Abyss due to the extremely clumsy ending. I know that it was created that way in order to produce one last big, epic confrontation with said ferocious crocodile, but the execution felt rushed and lost its conviction due to the type of weapon used to eventually exterminate the monster. If you know anything about crocodiles you should know their outer skin is so thick and dense it is like an armor and it is extremely difficult for bullets of a certain caliber to pierce that skin. It is going to be extremely difficult to convince anyone with prior weapons knowledge that the ending scene was at all possible.
It sure did not work for me and I was disappointed, especially since one of the female leads is left just looking like a foot looking for a shoe when trying to handle the weapon. Why do they like to do this to female leads in these types of movies, I will never know? Women can handle weapons too you know and better than men, we kick their butts in the shooting competitions, just saying!
As creature features go this is not a bad addition, it just needed a better landing. But I would still recommend it and the original Black Water (2007) if you want to see a suspenseful crocodile-based horror. You can also check out Rogue (2007) which was also based on a true story crocodile attack that happened in the 1970s.
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For a review of Deep Blue Sea 3 you can click here.