BARE BONES: BLACK WATER-ABYSS (2020)

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BLACK WATER: ABYSS (2020)

Thirteen years later, Andrew Traucki returns to his Black Water¬†with an unrelated sequel, save for the hungry crocodile and it’s human snacks. This film finds five friends going cave exploring in the middle of the wilderness. A sudden and fierce rainstorm causes flash flooding, which fills the cave system with water. Drowning isn’t the worse concern, as a large and hungry crocodile is in there with them and now hunts the scared spelunkers.

Traucki directs from a script by John Ridley and Sarah Smith. It is an entertaining movie but would have been far more effective if we hadn’t already seen the scenario played out in The Descent and the more recent 47 Meters Down: Uncaged. It’s all quite familiar at this point, though Traucki does give it some nice tension and Ridley and Smith give us some fairly likable characters to fear for. There is some bloody violence, as can be expected, as the gator thins the numbers of our trapped adventurers. We once again have a pregnant character and it’s this abundant familiarity that keeps Black Water: Abyss from being a really bloody fun treat. We’ve seen it all before. Worth a watch, but too ‘been there, done that’ to really make a lasting impression. Stars Jessica (The Meg) McNamee as Jennifer, Luke Mitchell as Eric, Amali Golden as the pregnant Yolanda, Benjamin Hoetjes as Viktor and Anthony J. Sharpe as Cash.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

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BARE BONES: BLACK WATER (2007)

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BLACK WATER (2007)

Australian survival thriller finds Lee (Maeve Dermody), her sister Grace (Diana Glenn), Grace’s partner Adam (Andy Rodoreda) along with guide Jim (Ben Oxenbould), heading into the mangrove swamps for a little fishing tour. Unfortunately they are attacked by a hungry crocodile which strands them up in a tree surrounded by water. Can they make a daring escape, or is it only a matter of time before the hungry predator makes a meal out of them?

Flick is based on a true story and directed by The Reef’s Andrew Traucki from his own script with David Nerlich. Like that movie, Traucki keeps things tense and suspenseful, as he not only establishes quite early that the crocodile can strike from out of nowhere and no one is safe, but also that Grace is pregnant, which gives us added reason to fear for her. There is obviously some graphic violence and the threat of croc attack is always present, as our survivors try to figure out a way back to the boat and out of reptile infested waters. The small cast are all good and create characters we like and care about. It’s a tight, though moderately paced, 89 minutes but an 89 minutes that is thick with atmosphere and tension.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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BARE BONES: THE REEF (2010)

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THE REEF (2010)

A simple setup has five friends, Luke (Damian Walshe-Howling), Suzie (Adrienne Pickering), Matt (Gyton Grantley), Kate (Zoe Naylor) and Warren (Kieran Darcy-Smith) on a yacht that hits a reef, damaging the hull. As the boat sinks, they must decide to either stay with the wreckage and hope they are found, or make a desperate swim to an island through miles of shark infested waters.

The film is supposedly based on a true story and writer/director Andrew Traucki takes this simple setup and puts his audience right there in the water with his characters, treating us to some thick tension and nerve-wracking suspense. The characters are likable, so we care about their safety and that adds to that tension. We are also treated to some well staged jump scares, between the scenes of shark attack, just to make sure we don’t relax, just as the characters never do. Obviously, we know not everyone is going to make it and that adds tension, too. The cast are all good in their parts, though some might be disappointed at the limited carnage for a shark movie. A pleasantly surprising and effective nail biter from Down Under that disappointingly went straight to DVD outside it’s native country. Too bad, as the 47 Meters Down movies proved successful recently, this might have also been a sleeper hit. Flick is currently streaming free on Tubi!

 

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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