The other night I happened upon a little Australian thriller called Black Water. I thought it was pretty good, but I’d never heard of it, so when it was over I looked up some reviews. Although most reviewers were positive, there were two recurring criticisms from the naysayers: the movie’s low budget, and its “unlikable” characters. If that’s the criteria to go by, I reckoned, then we’d might as well dismiss The Godfather (all those unlikable mobsters) and gems like Paranormal Activity (which probably cost less to produce than Rupert Murdoch’s breakfast).
Black Water will never be hailed as a cinematic milestone, but it is deserving of comparison to a film like Jaws – especially when you consider that piddling budget. That’s high praise for the movie’s directors, who manage to achieve and sustain high tension from a simple story, supposedly based on true events, about three people trapped by a ravenous crocodile in a secluded mangrove swamp.
I recently yawned through the big-budget remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street. God knows how much money was spent on the production, distribution, and marketing of that rehash. And then I found an unheralded Aussie flick on TV that kept me riveted – low budget, “unlikable” characters and all. Grade: B+
Directors: David Nerlich, Andrew Traucki Cast: Diana Glenn, Maeve Dermody, Andy Rodoreda, Ben Oxenbould Release: 2007
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