This week, in honor of not dying in the Mayan Apocalypse & the impending New Year (Lucky 13, everyone!) I opted to switch it up. Prior to Rooster Illusion, I actually watched movies like this because I like ’em. So here are two that I watched voluntarily, expecting them to be bad, but were actually quite great.
“Black Water” 2007
Baddie – Crocodiles!
Lesson – Australians make good horror movies (to the best of my knowledge)
So, I know I am constantly lamenting the fact that most of the movies I review just do a terrible job setting up/executing suspense. “Black Water” is the king of suspense. It’s based on a book, and comes in the wake of “Open Water” (2003). The loose gist is that some friends go out on a tour, and a croc flips the boat and leaves them stranded in a mangrove swamp. The rest of the film is, make no mistakes here, slow. If you invest your time in this film, you are in for the long haul, but the reward is worth it.
“Black Water” forces its characters to make extremely difficult decisions. There is no hope of rescue, no food, no supplies, nothing. It does get really intense, emotionally. There’s a sense of ‘1 step forward, 4 steps back’ a lot, but by the end of the film the audience is feeling the same desperation as the character(s). The resolution is bittersweet.
Overall – this movie captures excellent drama and suspense. The characters are believable, and their actions make sense. The props are well executed, and the SFX are realistic. The scenery is a bit stagnant due to the nature of the film, but I think mangrove swamps are kinda beautiful.
“Shark Night” 2011
Baddie – Sharks!
Lesson – There is such a thing as a good shark movie.
I don’t know if the makers of ‘Shark Night’ set out to make a good horror film, or if they wanted a meta-homage to the greats, but they accomplished both. Now, unlike “Black Water”, “Shark Night” lacks the same artistic finess, but is still decently made, and features actors you might actually know.
When I say ‘meta-homage’, I mean that “Shark Night” hits a lot of the ‘shark movie checklist’ points. Teens on vacation? Check. Free reign of a sweet boathouse? Check. Homecoming story? Check. Genetically modified sharks? Check. Corrupt sheriff? Check. Betrayal, blood, amputation, revenge, love stories, get-rich-quick-schemes? Check, check, double check, etc. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of detail in the ‘why are there sharks’ backstory, including -gasp- science.
The actors do a decent job in this film. As I mentioned before, you might have heard of them, and “Shark Night” was in theaters, so it wasn’t completely abysmal on that front. There’s a completely badass revenge sequence, and a completely messed up death sequence. It’s a little campy, but the entertainment value is high because of that.
I learned recently that “Shark Night” uses animatronic sharks as well as CGI, and it’d definitely effective. So if you’re an SFX buff, check this film out just for that.
Alright kids – see you on the flip side.