BLACK WATER: ABYSS. (2020) DIRECTED BY ANDREW TRAUCKI. STARRING JESSICA MCNAMEE, LUKE MITCHELL, AMALI GOLDEN, BENJAMIN HOETJES AND ANTHONY. J. SHARPE.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
This Australian creature feature was made by the guy who did the excellent 2007 ‘big croc’ film, BLACK WATER, but, in my humble opinion, this movie isn’t as good. The crocodile is hardly ever on-screen and, when he is, he’s disappointingly small. I like my crocs the way I like my sharks. Massive, lol.
Plus the characters don’t feel particularly likeable, either, although the situation in which they find themselves is certainly about as perilous as it gets.
The film reminds me of another one I saw earlier this year, 47 METRES DOWN: UNCAGED, in which four bikini-clad schoolgirls go exploring an underwater cave that only the father of one of them knows about, as he’s some kind of biologist or researcher or something.
Anyway, the petrified kids encounter a shark that has been down there in the dark waters for so many years he’s actually evolved somehow into having no eyes, because he doesn’t need them where he is. That doesn’t make his bite any less deadly, though. The youngsters have a hell of a time trying to navigate their way out of the underground cave system without being, ahem, eaten, nom nom nom.
In BLACK WATER: ABYSS, five young people in their late twenties/early thirties decide to do one of the maddest things I’ve ever come across, which is, to willingly lower themselves into a hole in the ground out in the back of beyond in Northern Australia, with the intention of doing a spot of spelunking, ie, exploring the caves beneath.
They do this, despite the fact that some Japanese tourists have recently gone missing in the exact same spot. What’s even madder is that two of them shouldn’t really be there at all, as they don’t really have the stomach for this type of thing and are just tagging along to be with their respective other halves.
Jen suspects the obnoxious, full-of-himself alpha male he-man Luke of cheating. She accompanies him on this mad trip presumably to try to strengthen their wobbly relationship, or maybe just to keep her eye on him. We already know she doesn’t entirely trust him because we’ve seen her going through his phone behind his back. Never a good sign, that.
Victor, an asthmatic who can’t travel without his inhaler, is in remission from a recent brush with cancer and doesn’t seem strong enough for this kind of venture. Yolanda, his bird, is knocked up and shouldn’t be going anywhere near an underground cave she has to abseil down a rope to get to, but she’s as gung-ho about the trip as Luke. Alarm bells ringing yet?
Cash is Luke’s tour-guide friend who found the caves, and he’s on the trip too. If this recce of the caves turns out okay, Luke and his aptly-named friend Cash could have a proper little money-making scheme on their hands.
Whilst they’re all down in the admittedly cool underground caves, a storm above ground causes rising flood waters where the five friends are. Oh, and there’s a crocodile down there too, which might just explain what happens to our Japanese tourists…!
The rest of the movie just sees the five young folks trying to get out of the caves and back on to terra firma without been drowned in the flood waters or eaten by the killer croc. Their various relationship difficulties come to the fore as well while they’re undertaking this perilous journey back to the world above ground. If you like to watch heads bobbing above water while nothing really happens for ages, then, boy, is this the film for you!
The croc is a very discerning animal, as he knows exactly which characters to pick off and which to leave, which characters are dispensable and which must be allowed to live till the end. The bad get their come-uppance, the good and the innocent are spared, and then, bam, a plot twist at the last minute.
BLACK WATER: ABYSS, despite being nowhere near as scary as I would have liked, certainly makes you think about some of the worst, most claustrophobia-inducing ways to die, for example, up to your eyes in cold water in a tight space that’s just suffered a rockfall, while a giant (well, biggish) reptile throwback from the dinosaur era nibbles at your ankles.
It’s a film definitely worth watching once, but, to be honest, I won’t watch this one again. As the two movie-obsessed young lads from superb comedy series THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN might say: Seen, seen, seen…
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO
Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books.