Director – Gabriele Bologna
Cast – Robert Patrick, Danielle Harris, Arcadiy Golubovich, Sean Lawlor, James Duval, Nick Mennell, Mircea Monroe, Electra Avellan, Elise Avellan, Walker Howard, M. D. Walton, Declan Joyce
Release Year – 2009
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I had read some OK reviews for this film throughout the horror realm and was quite enamored to see that this film was going to play at my local dollar theater for a week or so. Enamored? Yes, simply because it is very seldom, if ever, that I get the opportunity to see a non-Hollywood horror film on the big screen, so I HAD to see this flick. Naturally, I went into this low-budget film with low expectations, and boy was I happy with the end product. This flick gives us what most modern horror films fail to give us, a fun ride filled with gore, boobage, and the great feel of the 80s horror films we all love and cherish.
The Black Waters of Echoes Pond follows a group of friends who rent a home on an isolated island for a weekend of fun and boozing. When the lights go off in the home, the renter of the home is forced to go into the basement to work the fuse box and comes across a unique discovery. An odd and ancient board game had been hidden inside the walls deep in the basement, and the group of friends have decided to give this “harmless”(heh) board game a shot. Soon enough, the rules of the game begin to take a toll on the psyche of the friends, and they begin to turn on each other. What started off as a fun and innocent attempt at playing a board game has turned into an everyone-for-themselves bloodbath in a game that has no plans to leave any survivors.
From the get-go this film did come off a bit cheezy, and amateurish, but I am glad I stuck around for the ride. After the opening sequence this flick grasped my attention with its great buildup and somewhat long yet perfectly paced development that set up the chaos that would ensue. I really loved the use of the board game, which was creepy and was obviously set up to cause pandemonium amongst those who dare to play it. When I first read about this flick I read about the game causing the characters to go homicidal on each other due to psychological horror I was iffy on whether or not I would like that. Thankfully, it is not mere psychological horror we get from the game, but blended with it is a supernatural element that is sure as hell will make you think twice about playing any unknown board game you find purposely hidden away within the walls of your basement(or even attic), but of course…you’d know better than to touch such things…right?
I found the most job in this film in its great feel and fun yet spooky atmosphere. The partying and boozing felt real and engaged me into the fun the protagonists were having, and it did its job in setting you up for the emotional “180” you were going to be hit with once the game begins doing its “thing“. The horror experienced was real, and it came with surprisingly well done graphics that I did not see coming from such a low-budget film. I expected weak kills, which we usually get from these types of flicks, but instead we got some pretty gory and smile-inducing kills that left me extremely satisfied. One thing I also noticed and enjoyed about this film is that it brought on the all-too-important element of horror that I am sure we all miss…the boobage! Back in the day every 70s and 80s horror film came with some sexual element of either sex itself or boobie action, and it seems the horror realm has somewhat abandoned this great use of female “thingies”, as Beavis and Butthead would call them. Seeing the boobage in this film took me back to those good ole days when I could just turn off my brain and enjoy the fun and cheezy horror I had before me, so big plus to writer/director George Bologna(yes, that is his lastname) for making this such a fun and homeage-filled flick to watch.
There are no major complaints from my end, although I am sure most would balk at the horrendous acting we get from a few of the actors. We get a very positive performance from Robert Patrick(of The Unit fame), who portrays the touch-as-nails wilderness man who owns the home. Everyone else, including Danielle Harris(Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, and Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers) came off mediocre with their performances, including some pathetic ones from some lesser known actors. I expected this, and in a way found it enjoyable given this really only makes this flick feel even more like a cheezy 80s horror film. We get no real insight into the power and mystique behind the board game, and I had no problem with that given I was too busy enjoying the sweet kills and cheezy mess that was going on before me. Heh.
Overall, this is a fun and pretty cool watch that definitely exceeded my low expectations and showed that cheezy horror films are a true treat to watch on the big screen. Don’t go in expecting the next Silence of the Lambs, but expect something similar to Hatchet(but not nearly as good, of course) and you will be in for a treat.