Crocodile horrors are rarely good movies. Normally CGI-fests they lack the ‘killer’ edge that makes them good villains. Black Water is different though. Proving to be a tension-filled and smart horror that does for crocodiles what Jaws did for sharks.
Written and directed by Andrew Traucki and David Nerlich, it stars Diana Glenn, Maeve Dermody and Andy Rodoreda. The story was inspired by the true story of a crocodile attack in Australia’s Northern Territory in December 2003.
Grace (Glenn), her younger sister Lee (Dermody) and her husband Adam (Rodoreda) are on a holiday in the Mangroves and looking to go fishing. They end up missing the regular tour but Jim (Ben Oxenbould) agrees to take them out.
On the water they struggle to find fish so Jim takes them off the usual route where they might find bigger fish. They arrive at a small clearing far from the tourist routes where they immediately find fish. Everyone’s having a good time until the boat is bumped hard enough to knock everyone into the water. Jim is caught in the ropes and drowns while the other three climb trees and discover they were attacked by a huge crocodile.
This beast has no interest in leaving them alone though and every attempt to escape sees it attack. As thirst and hunger takes hold, things get more and more desperate for the survivors.
What really makes Black Water such an enjoyable watch is just how real it all feels. A lot of this is down to the quality acting and the pacing of the plot. Time passes quickly for us as viewers but not for the characters. The water is still and nothing moves lulling everyone into a false sense of security but this croc is sly.
We actually see very little of the beast which helps heighten the tension nicely, when it does attack it is often when the characters come to it. They are in an impossible situation, stuck in trees surrounded by water…its territory. The cast are outstanding and this film pulls no punches with what it puts them through. The lack of CGI used is very welcome and helps add the realness to the whole movie.
It’s certainly at the top of croc-related horror pile but as a horror overall it does have a few problems. The characters are under-developed and the relationships don’t quite hit, in particularly the married couple. A pregnancy sub-plot doesn’t add much to it either when it should add some emotional weight. These are points that are hard to ignore even if the positives vastly outweigh the negatives.
The Final Score - 6.5/10