Black Water: Abyss

Presumably made to remind a blissfully ignorant world that killer croc movie, Black Water was made back in 2007 – a film that I’d actually forgotten existed – the belated and unnecessary sequel, Black Water: Abyss, finally floats to the surface a stunning thirteen years after the original (timing is everything, filmmakers). Essentially a retread of 47 Meters Down: Uncaged that features Crocodylinaes instead of Selachimorpha (crocs and sharks to those of you with no access to Google) BW: A is the latest from antipodean filmmaker Andrew Traucki, director of The Reef, Black Water and the upcoming The Reef: Stalked (noticing a distinct pattern here, Andy…) who obviously gazed over the over crowded catalogue of killer animal movie and confidently thought, “yeah, there’s room for another one…”.

Five Australian friends, each one as bland as the last, head out into the wilderness on the suggestion of one of their number who claims to have discovered a cavern that’s prime real estate to be made into one of those tourist attractions that unbearable people pay a ton of dollarydoos to brag about on Instagram. Conveniently forgetting that they live in Australia: a place infamous for virtually everything in it wanting you dead, the gang head down into the caves to explore, choosing not to leave someone behind just in case something predictably horrible happens to them – which, of course, predictably happens. As these walking, Aussie buffet carts descend into the blackness while ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the majesty of a wet underground hole, a tropical storm blows up, seals the idiots underground with a rock slide and starts rapidly filling up the cave with water; but the best is yet to come. The group soon find that they’re sharing the cave with sizable crocodile who’s incredibly partial to the taste of moron and who starts to steadily dwindle their number and the survivors have to come up with a way to survive pronto before they experience death either by drowning or being chewed up like a screaming piece of bubblegum….

Less a coherent horror/thriller and more like a glowing advertisement for natural selection against idiots, the major problem that Black Water: Abyss has to traverse is that the film mistakenly thinks an audience is going to give two flying fucks about a gaggle of lackwits who have all the survival skills and common sense of a used tampon. It’s obviously one of those films that demands that the players stay the fuck out of the water (even though crocodiles can blatantly come on land, but never mind that, eh?) and then gives them multiple reasons to go back in but the lengths the film goes to in order to have these guys get trapped with no chance of rescue would border on hilarious if it wasn’t so insulting and the laundry list of life threatening fuck ups become so galling that even the croc itself would have trouble swallowing them. Get a load of this
The guy who found the cave in the first place reveals he found it as part of a search party while on the lookout for some missing Japanese tourists that were already snapped up in the pre-credits sequence – the fact that no one equates “missing Japanese tourists” with “big, scary, unexplored cave” just goes to show how fucking dumb these guys are – but then the level of stupidity continues and doesn’t stop until the credits roll. The group has full knowledge about the approaching storm that traps them and they openly remark that no one knows where they’re going before they even enter the cave; no one’s thought to pre-check the batteries in the lights; one of their number doesn’t think to tell the others that they’re almost certain that “something’s” in the water with them until after they’re trapped; the resident lung cancer survivor (every entombed group should have one) doesn’t actually keep his inhaler on his person but stores it lodged deep within his backpack; another guy makes a big deal about bringing a gun specifically to shoot anything that wants to fuck with them, but then doesn’t actually bring it into the caves… rhe stupidity is relentless and even the survivors stubbornly refuse to gain any accumulated knowledge right the way up to the end credits.
How are we supposed to have any sympathy for people who instantly crash their getaway jeep into the lake they’ve just escaped from and then celebrate finally vanquishing their would-be, aquatic predator by hugging and sobbing while still standing in three feet of water! To paraphrase, with friends like these, you don’t need animals…
The film doesn’t hold a candle to Greg McLean’s Rogue (coincidentally released the same year as the original Black Water) which still stands as the best Australian Croc movie around and at times even shamelessly tries to rip of Neil Marshall’s The Descent (surely the undisputed king of subterranean shockers) with a final reel revelation that two of the group have had an affair in a desperate attempt to churn up some unearned drama. It also doesn’t help when the dialogue is gratingly obvious – after one of their clueless number is mauled some turns to another of the group and flatly states: “We need to get him to a hospital!”…. yeah, no shit, Sherlock, how many years of medical school did it take to get you to that level…?
The production itself is admittedly slick, but the snapping attacks are relatively by the books and barely manage to provoke a single startling moment with it’s often tough to get a read on how big the reptile assailant actually is. It’s certainly not a big as it appears on the poster, but then that’s a common trait of the killer animal genre so I guess that’s one thing I can’t blame this pointless entry for…

Crocodiles are famous for stalking its prey so stealthily that they are often mistaken for floating piece of log, the only floating thing you’re going to mistake Black Water: Abyss for is a great, big bobbing turd…


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