Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
Joel interviews the MIFF team to find out what's in this year's program announcement! Click to listen to our special SWITCHCast ep now.x
review, Black Water: Abyss, Black, Water:, Abyss, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Jessica McNamee, Luke Mitchell, Amali Golden, Anthony J. Sharpe, Benjamin Hoetjes, Andrew Traucki, Action, Australian, Drama, Horror film rating

BLACK WATER: ABYSS

ABYSS-MALLY SHODDY

THEATRICAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Jake Watt
29th July 2020

I'm a sucker for monster movies, especially ones involving oversized crocodilians. This is despite the fact that the vast majority of them are absolutely horrible, with thin backstories as to how they got to be so big and why they are in the wrong part of the world.

Putting the animals back in their natural setting seems to make a difference. Greg McLean's 'Rogue', about a gargantuan saltwater crocodile that devours a group of vacationers on a river cruise in Kakadu National Park (with a story inspired by an actual crocodile that terrorised boaters in the area during the late 70s), is my personal high-water mark for the sub-genre. Bear in my mind, I haven't seen David Nerlich and Andrew Traucki's 'Black Water' from 2007, so I may be missing out on some gold.

Andrew Traucki's solo-directed and unconnected sequel, 'Black Water: Abyss', kicks off with an Asian tourist couple in the Northern Territory quickly being munched by the chonky lizard of the piece. We then meet a group of friends preparing for a cave dive and there's the quick introduction to the players and their relationships: Eric (Luke Mitchell, a charismatic actor who deserves better than this), his girlfriend Jen (Jessica McNamee, 'The Meg'), who doubts his commitment to their relationship; and their friends Viktor (Benjamin Hoetjes) and Yolanda (Amali Golden), a love-up couple. There's plenty of foreshadowing and faux-offhanded introduction of information and elements that will - surprise! - become crucial later on.

'BLACK WATER: ABYSS' TRAILER

The four and a guide lower themselves into the cave, but when a storm floods their escape route, they have no idea how to get out. As if things couldn't get worse, the hungry reptile of the opening scene arrives. There are death rolls, chompings, polarising conflicts over decisions, terrifying life-or-death struggles and catharsis, all doled out at intervals as precise as the steps to a familiar dance.

Traucki stokes some tension from this simple setup, thanks to lucid staging and plotting that (almost) keeps unbelievable protagonist behaviour to a minimum. 'Black Water: Abyss' delineates its characters with clean, quick brushstrokes, thereby eliciting a modicum of empathy for their life-or-death plight and their varied reactions to their circumstances. Aside from a few nice shots of the imposing Outback landscape, which comes across as a primal environment unfit for modern intruders, most of the film takes place in a dimly lit water-filled cave. The isolation in an unfamiliar habitat is just as important (if not moreso) than the imminent threat of being eaten alive. While the stomach-clenching setting and claustrophobic squeezes are mildly thrilling, 'Black Water: Abyss' doesn't seem to have the budget to present its unholy beast in all its enormous, monstrous glory, keeping such glimpses to a relative minimum.

When the action finally emerges from the cave, the sequence of events (involving a fallen tree) leading to the final battle with the crocodile was so ludicrously convenient that it made me laugh.

While I was surprised and pleased that character deaths were determined by one simple metric - how close someone was to the water - 'Black Water: Abyss' lacks momentum during the lengthy cave sequence, which makes up the largest portion of the film. The water-treading character drama is quite dull. When the action finally emerges from the cave, the sequence of events (involving a fallen tree) that leads to the final battle with the crocodile is so ludicrously convenient that it made me laugh.

'Black Water: Abyss' should have been a shrewd, scary situational suspense film along the lines of Alexandra Aja's minor classic 'Crawl' or Jaume Collet-Serra's underrated 'The Shallows', but a low budget, slack pacing and a lack of ideas sinks this one to the bottom of the swamp.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 06/08/2020
RUN TIME: 1h 38m
CAST: Jessica McNamee
Luke Mitchell
Amali Golden
Anthony J. Sharpe
Benjamin Hoetjes
DIRECTOR: Andrew Traucki
WRITERS: John Ridley
Sarah Smith
PRODUCERS: Andrew Traucki
Michael Robertson
Neal Kingston
SCORE: Michael Lira
BlackWater.Abyss
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Umbrella Home Entertainment Prize Pack - Get copies of Gunda, King Otto and Relic to enjoy at home!
TRENDINGWIN UMBRELLA HOME ENTERTAINMENT PRIZE PACKGet copies of Gunda, King Otto and Relic to enjoy at home!
Cosmic Sin - A film that delivers on the promise of its title
TRENDINGCOSMIC SINA film that delivers on the promise of its title
Pocahontas - 25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
TRENDINGPOCAHONTAS25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
The Keeper - The true story of the Nazi goalkeeper and the English girl
TRENDINGTHE KEEPERThe true story of the Nazi goalkeeper and the English girl
Jungle Cruise - Sailing into a new Disney classic adventure
TRENDINGJUNGLE CRUISESailing into a new Disney classic adventure
The World at War - The landmark documentary series restored in high definition
TRENDINGTHE WORLD AT WARThe landmark documentary series restored in high definition
Suicide Squad - A woefully dull and incomprehensible mess
TRENDINGSUICIDE SQUADA woefully dull and incomprehensible mess
The Princess Diaries - 20 years since Genovia found its princess
TRENDINGTHE PRINCESS DIARIES20 years since Genovia found its princess
River's Edge - The kids aren't alright
TRENDINGRIVER'S EDGEThe kids aren't alright
Matilda - Revolting children for 25 years
TRENDINGMATILDARevolting children for 25 years
Golden Voices - Immigration struggles with amusing challenges
TRENDINGGOLDEN VOICESImmigration struggles with amusing challenges
Boxing Day Movies 2020 - The year's biggest films bursting onto cinema screens
TRENDINGBOXING DAY MOVIES 2020The year's biggest films bursting onto cinema screens
Fanny Lye Deliver'd - Feminist folk horror
TRENDINGFANNY LYE DELIVER'DFeminist folk horror
The Last Horns of Africa - The danger, the heartache and the importance of saving the Rhinos
TRENDINGTHE LAST HORNS OF AFRICAThe danger, the heartache and the importance of saving the Rhinos
Monty Python's Flying Circus: The Complete Series - Sketches at a revolution
TRENDINGMONTY PYTHON'S FLYING CIRCUS: THE COMPLETE SERIESSketches at a revolution
25 Free-to-Watch Short Horror Films - The scariest shorts we uncovered online
TRENDING25 FREE-TO-WATCH SHORT HORROR FILMSThe scariest shorts we uncovered online
Aiyai: Wrathful Soul - Ambitious but unfocused Aussie horror
TRENDINGAIYAI: WRATHFUL SOULAmbitious but unfocused Aussie horror
Midsommar: The Director's Cut - Ari Aster elevates an already remarkable film to a masterpiece
TRENDINGMIDSOMMAR: THE DIRECTOR'S CUTAri Aster elevates an already remarkable film to a masterpiece
Inseparable Bros - A heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
TRENDINGINSEPARABLE BROSA heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
© 2011 - 2021 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us!