Director – David Nerlich, Andrew Traucki
Cast – Diana Glenn, Maeve Dermody, Andy Rodoreda, Ben Oxenbould, Fiona Press
Release Year – 2007
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I have always had an extreme love for killer-animal horror films, especially ones involving giant animals like snakes and crocodiles. Naturally, when I first heard of this film I really wanted to give it a shot, and thanks to FearNet I was conveniently able to give this one a watch. This is definitely not the usual crocodile horror film as it focuses more on tension than gory deaths, and in this film it works.
Black Water follows Gracie and Adam, a young married couple, and Gracie’s younger sister Lee. While on vacation in northern Australia they decide to go on the Blackwater Barry fishing and river tour for some fun and adventure. They are not having much luck with their fishing, but that will soon be the least of their problems. A giant crocodile attacks their small motor boat and quickly consumes their tour guide, who was also the only person with a gun. The group of three are now stranded amongst the trees sticking out of the mangrove swamp, and must make a decision to either stay and wait or try and make it back to land via any way possible. As they look for options, the awaiting crocodile prepares for its next human meal.
As I mentioned earlier, this flick focuses more on tension than gore and effects, and it works for this flick. Much like Open Water, what you DON’T see is what scares you, and this flick benefits from that thanks to the murky waters around each set. I really liked the atmosphere of this film, and the scenario our protagonists find themselves in is nice for viewer involvement given pretty much everyone who sees this film must think to themselves “what would I do?”. Personally, I always find that type of viewer-involvement very fun and it helps with pacing as well.
The best thing about this film is its execution, which I found pretty well done because once viewing this film it is obvious it had a very low budget. We do not see a lot of crocodile in this flick and directors David Nerlich and Andrew Traucki had to get creative to make things work, especially because they used a real crocodile pretty much throughout the entire film. Clever editing took care of the crocodile attack scenes, and nice camerawork made the tension scenes work quite well.
There were a few problems I encountered with this flick, although none of them were major. I personally did not like that we only had three main protagonists for a film like this, simply because only so much can be done character and action-wise. Naturally when you have fewer characters there is more development, but in a flick where they spend most of their time moving about trees and keeping away from a hungry crocodile only a small amount of character development is required. Also, because of the low amount of characters there was a low amount of kills, and a low amount of crocodile action as well. Some may not have a problem with that whatsoever, but at times I found myself wishing we had at least two more characters thrown into the mix to liven things up. I also did not like the rate in which our characters were killed off. I felt that the first kill occurred too soon, and the second kill happened out of place character-wise. It is unwise to rid of a very main character so soon, and focus on the other main character and a supporting character. Oh well.
Overall, this is a cool killer crocodile film that focuses more on tension than action and gory deaths but still delivers what it sets out to deliver…nerve-wrecking tension to the viewer. Don’t go in expecting the action of Rogue or Primevil and you should be fine.