Recent Reviews
By Jonathan Stryker (Facebook); Jonathan Stryker (Twitter)
Dec 7, 2013 - 9:00:00 PM

Gabriel Bologna's The Black Waters of Echo's Pond comes across as a strange concoction.  For one thing, it doesn't seem able to make up its mind as to whether or not it is a straight out horror film or if it is meant to be played as a tongue-in-cheek, winking- at-the-audience type of movie.  My guess would be the former given the overall creepiness that the film admirably attempts to create, though not always successfully.  Like the new DVD and Blu-ray release of All the Boys Love Many Lane (2006), which also deals with a similar theme of male and female teens going off to a large manse with the hopeful promise of sex, the film was shot a good number of years ago, probably around 2007/2008.  To me, still the only recognizable performers are Robert Patrick, Danielle Harris, James Duval, Electra Avellan and Elise Avellan.  Black Waters starts off promisingly enough but tends to drag at times despite lasting the usual hour and-a-half.  It ends with a denouement that any seasoned horror film fan will see coming, but that is not to say that the film is a total loss as there is much to admire here, especially the fairly cool title and the even cooler old-style '70's-inspired movie poster.  

It starts with a prologue wherein a group of archeologists are excavating a dig in 1927 and this, like in William Friedkin's The Exorcist (1973), unleashes an evil spirit.  Flash forward 80 years to the same location whereupon a big house owned by Pete (Robert Patrick) is built right on the spot where the spirit was discovered.  Pete loans the house to family friend Anton (Arcadiy Golubovich) and his wife Erica (Elise Avellan).  The couple is joined by Anton's best friend Josh (Nick Mennell) and his girlfriend Renee (Electra Avellan) who also used to be Anton's girlfriend.  But, hey, everything's cool, right!  Um, no!  Not only will this situation prove to turn the cabin into a pressure cooker of accusations, festering resentment and nasty secrets, but the evil spirits brought forth by the board game that Anton finds in the basement will make them wish that they broke out Trivial Pursuit instead.    

Rick (James Duval) is a mutual friend who shows up uninvited and incurs frowns and mean looks from just about everyone, especially Kathy (Danielle Harris) who really has it in for him as she blames him for the drunk driving death of her brother.  As they play the board game, accusations and dares flip flop and eventually the board possesses the participants.  It becomes difficult at times to gauge if what we are seeing is real or a game within a game along the lines of David Cronenberg's eXistenZ (1999). 

The performances for the most part are quite good.  Electra Avellan and Elise Avellan give good dramatic turns, yet I still cannot tell the two of them apart - will one of these ladies get a tattoo somewhere noticeable, please?   Danielle Harris fans will love her here as she not only gives a good performance but she looks very sexy, too. 

There is also a strange half man, half beast creature running around...

The film's transfer on Blu-ray is a colorful affair.  The sound is also very strong and typifies what you would expect from a modern film.  There is an extended alternate beginning included as an extra, although I really would have liked a commentary with some of the behind-the-scenes folks to give us a rundown of the film's origin and its problematic history. 

Click here to order from 


© Copyright by