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The Independent Critic

Robert Patrick, Danielle Harris, James Duval, Arcadiy, Golubovich, Electra Avellan, Elise Avellan, Nick Mennell, Sean Lawlor
Gabriel Bologna
Rated R
Project 8 Films
Nadda. Zilch.

 "The Black Waters of Echo's Pond"  
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Seemingly made for those who still embrace old school horror, The Black Waters of Echo's Pond manages to combine the best and worst of Parker Brothers board games with an ever so brief history lesson followed by gory thrills and chills that aren't so much old school as they are simply old cinema.

That's the biggest problem with The Black Waters of Echo's Pond...everything feels familiar yet inferior to its predecessor. The film starts off at a 1920's archaeological dig where a demonic stone tablet is unearthed with an etching of Pan.

This has nothing to do with why I'm panning the film.


Fast forward to modern day and we get a stereotypical horror flick involving an isolated island, a mysterious caretaker (Robert Patrick) and a group of horny yet mostly disagreeable young adults who don't really seem to like each other but are, for some unknown reason, vacationing with one another.

One thing leads to another and everyone or something or anyone or someone or, well, ummm...The killing starts, yeah. That's what happens.

There are vaguely familiar faces here, ranging from films like Donnie Darko to Grindhouse, yet nary a single one does anything here to convince anyone that they deserve another chance in another film.

Writer/director Gabriel Bologna never quite seems clear on what type of film he's trying to make. Is this supposed to be a hardcore, old school horror flick along the lines of a B-movie? It takes itself way too seriously if so. On the other hand, is this supposed to be a fun, campy "cult" type film? Again, Bologna never quite allows this to develop despite hinting at it throughout the production.

Instead, The Black Waters of Echo's Pond feels like a mishmash of the mostly worst traits of 70's era horror with touches of Troma and maybe even the early 80's horror thrown in for good measure. The end result is that virtually everything in this film feels ripped off from some other film, and rather than becoming deeper engrossed in this film it's much more likely that you'll find yourself reflecting fondly upon film's past.

Performances are across the board weak, and camera work from Massimo Zeri is laughably bad alongside the histrionic sounds of Harry Manfredini's off-putting original score. The film's production design. even considering the film's modest $5,000,000 budget, is frequently amateurish even for a critic who regularly sees horror flicks put together on budgets less than 10% of that given this film.

Unimaginative and surprisingly lacking in suspense and horror, The Black Waters of Echo's Pond is the horror version of last year's abysmal sci-fi flick The Fourth Kind.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic