Black Water (2007) – Movie Review
23rd June 2021 Written by Peter Walkden
Black Water begins with the introduction of Lee (Maeve Dermody), her older sister Grace (Diana Glenn) and her long-term boyfriend Adam (Andy Rodoreda). The three decide to take a holiday in Northern Australia and visit many well-known sightseeing spots as they seek new life experiences. Adam suggests the three of them take a tour along some mangrove swampland. They hire a stranger to show them around in his boat, and the journey begins. But while the four attempts to look around and stop to fish, their small boat is tipped over with all members landing in the water. Not only are they in the water in crocodile territory, but a giant crocodile eats their tour guide!
Despite surviving the boat capsizing, Lee, Grace, and Adam are stranded. Lee is stuck on top of the upside boat, and Grace and Adam are hiding up a nearby tree. While each member is safe, it is not for long as the crocodile continues to roam around looking for blood and flesh. Now this group of three must work together and find a way to escape before the tide comes in, or worse; they become the next victim of the killer croc.
Black Water is quite a basic story with a small cast. The film, for the majority, is set in one location with our leading characters trapped in a tree or around the mangroves. And honestly, I was surprised how much I enjoyed this film based on the basic ingredients. While set in one location, the film can keep its viewers engaged and questioning many elements, such as where the lurking crocodile is. The crocodile is well hidden for most of the film, but I enjoyed the suspenseful moments whenever it appeared.
The film’s soundtrack is basic but highly effective as viewers are greeted by a cello playing deep notes. This simple soundtrack provided extra emotion along the way. The pacing is excellent, and I never felt bored or uninterested. I felt confident about how the third act would finish, but the film successfully surprised me and decided to prove me wrong. The filming style is excellent, and even though it is evident that Black Water has been completed on a low budget, the use of the surroundings and adding a genuine crocodile makes the film feel authentic and pleasing.
As for concerns, it is minor, but some of the line deliveries from certain characters do make me cringe ever so slightly and did not always work for me. However, by the third act, I felt the characters had significantly changed for the better, and the issues relating to line deliveries or cheesy dialogue had altered. Some elements are predictable, but for the most, the film is still surprising, and I found it to be relatively fresh.
Overall, as an Australian directional debut from David Nerlich and Andrew Traucki, this film has many positive elements. Sure, it is a basic plot and set in one location for most of its duration, but the film manages to build suspense and surprise its audiences by the third act. It is a beautiful achievement, and it is no wonder why the film later received a thumbs up for a sequel.
Black Water (2007) is Now Available on Blu-ray & DVD!