Black Water: Abyss (2020) Review

So-Bad-It’s-Good films are usually my jam.  But this one was just, bad.  Very very few saving graces.  So disappointing.

Certificate: 15

Director: Andrew Traucki

Screenwriter: John Ridley, Sarah Smith

Starring: Jessica McNamee, Luke Mitchell, Amali Golden

Genre: Action, Horror

Runtime: 98 Minutes

Rating: 1.5 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

A group of five friends go exploring in an underground cave system in remote northern Australia, these friends have obviously not seen enough horror movies.  While they are exploring, there is a freak storm above ground, causing the cave system to become flooded and the friends to become trapped.  And to make matters worse, they are stuck in this underground cave system with a giant, flesh hungry crocodile.  Because of course.

Creature features are usually one of my guilty pleasures, rated just underneath Disaster movies.  They are always formulaic.  You know what is going to happen, when and too whom.  You know that the acting will be a little over dramatic, someone will make a nick of time rescue and at least two of the main group of characters will escape, brownie points if they end up in a romantic relationship born from shared trauma.  Knowing all this, I can usually still enjoy films like this because they are plain, mindless entertainment.  They don’t have to be scrutinized too hard, there are no hard lessons to learn.  It’s just a big monster and a lot of savage deaths.  But sometimes, there will be a film like this one, where there is very little to rescue it from itself. 

The acting is…competent.  I have seen Luke Mitchell (Agents of Shield) perform much, much better than this and the other actors in the film are…OK.  The material they have to work with isn’t great to be fair to them.  The script is very clunky, and stereotypical, but there really wasn’t any need for the cast to add in quite the amount of moaning, groaning and hysterical sobbing as they did.  It got tiresome pretty quick.

The setting, the claustrophobic feeling of the cave, illuminated almost entirely by torches and lantern do add a really good atmosphere.  You never get a good look at the crocodile that is hunting them until the end, instead we see a lot of rippling water, and dark shapes, but that’s it. So there is a good tense atmosphere, and a few good surprising deaths.

I didn’t care much for the interpersonal plot going on between the characters, I caught on pretty early what the bit reveal was going to be, and I just didn’t care.  And Eric doesn’t really get a chance at any character development or redemption following this reveal, so there is no emotional impact at all.

Such a disappointing watch, I wanted to love this.  If creature features are your thing then maybe give it a go, but I can’t recommend it otherwise.

‘Black Water: Abyss’ is streaming on Netflix now!

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