Vampires. There’s nothing quite like a blood sucker to put the bums on the seats at the CUT’s January presentation, despite the cold wet weather outside.
So what did we get with The Black Water Vampire? Well, the scene is set as a cop describes the latest of the Black Water killings. Over 40 years the corpses of four women have been found drained of blood and with an arcane symbol carved into their flesh in the vicinity of the town of Fawnskin (cue much childish sniggering from the audience). Film maker Danielle Mason (Danielle Lozeau) doesn’t buy the confession that put Raymond Banks (Bill Oberst Jr) on Death Row and sets out with her crew to investigate what she believes to be a miscarriage of justice.
Yes, we are in found footage territory again as Danielle’s crew document what seems like each and every step of the preparations for their trek to the frozen wilderness of the crimescene. Arriving in Fawnskin they discover the locals are a stereotypical bunch of American backwoods loons who are remarkably unanimous in their condemnation of Banks. Undaunted, the crew set off into the woods and it isn’t long before the same symbol that was carved into the flesh of the victims is found daubed in what they hope is red paint on the trees.
OK, as the audience we have already been tipped off that the video has been found so its no surprise that Danielle’s world rapidly falls apart from here. Getting lost in the wilderness and arguing amongst themselves is just a prelude to the really nasty stuff as the team starts to get picked off.
There are a couple of nice jump out of your skin moments, but on the whole The Black Water Vampire is a pretty derivative found footage movie that comes across as an overlong mash-up of Scooby Doo and The Blair Witch Project, with rather too many nods to the latter. Judging by the number of people who got up to use the bar or step outside for a smoke during the performance, I don’t think I was alone in thinking that a good half hour of the mock dock set up and the general hysterics could easily have been left on the floor of the edit suite.
I have to confess that I am a bit over found footage anyway and find the wobbly camera work and deliberately dodgy sound profoundly irritating, especially when there is nothing really new to be gained from using the format.
I give The Black Water Vampire a 222.
The Black Water Vampire is out now on DVD in the USA and on 24 March.
Screenings at the CUT! include one free drink plus entry into a free draw to win all kinds of strange promotional stuff. Entry is free, but strictly limited. To get on the guest list e:mail email@example.com.
For a bit of light relief after all that hysterical brohaha try:
The Ghost Breakers (1940): Crime reporter Larry Lawrence (Bob Hope) accompanies Mary Carter (Paulette Goddard) as she attempts to claim her inheritance, a haunted mansion in Cuba. Packed with Hope’s sharp wit the film was one of the inspirations behind Walt Disney’s Haunted Mansion attraction at Disneyland.
Review by Simon Ball
Connect with Simon: @RealShipsCook or here.