By 2007, Black Water had won the crocodile’s heart thanks to treatments that were far more realistic than the aquatic B series average, imposed by a rickety budget. A small success of awards allowed its director Andrew Traucki to turn down the formula in 2010’s Shark: The Reef, perhaps one of the best recent productions of the genre. Seven years after his sad memory found footage of The Jungle, he provided a sequel to his first feature film: Black Water: Abyss. On the program: caving and crocodile tears.
In the army of producers behind this second Black Water are some familiar figures, like Christopher Figg, the king of the lucrative B series since he led the first Hellraiser, Dog Soldiers or even Mandy. But there’s also the trio of smart little guys formed by Andy Mayson, Mike Runagall and Will Clarke, who, in addition to Guns Akimbo, are behind the sympathetic tale of 47 Meters Down and its voracious shark.
It’s hard to avoid the parallels between these two franchises, both born out of the delightful micro-phenomenon of the B series of animals distinguished by a pronounced sense of suspense, then relegated to a cave for a second work that wants to push the buttons of darkness. The similarities are so glaring that one wonders if the concept really came from writers Sarah Smith and John Ridley, and not from the executive eyeing the $42 million revenue 47 Meters Down: Uncaged in its only exit room.
Nevertheless, the crocodile movie obliges, the cave doesn’t sink here, at least not in the beginning. The five unlucky people who descended there were just unconscious young people who lacked enthusiasm and were happy to inaugurate the new cave network. A tone that clearly refers to Black Water’s other major influence: Abyss, and not least. Traucki was clearly inspired by The Descent, a masterpiece of terror by Neil Marshall, in which he monopolized the structure, it is true, it fits perfectly into his style.
Like Marshall, filmmakers are generally careful to give their first acts time and play the doubt card during the first half hour. Unfortunately, if he does well with the crocodiles, he manages the monastery a lot less. Unable to capitalize on the rare moments when he literally presses his character against a wall, the film takes place almost entirely in a sprawling dungeon. Instead of reveling in the twists and turns involved in filming in a studio in a fake cavity, the creative team foolishly turned the action of the first feature film into a cave, and only tapped into its narrative potential (water is up, you gotta get out).
Some sequences get really frustrating, like the last tunnel loan. On paper, it’s a source of terror, but in reality it’s reduced to a hidden insert, the transition to an uninteresting and certainly stupid climax. It’s sometimes very inspired in terms of saving on its flaky stellar appearance, however, Traucki and his screenwriters seem to be on the verge of suffering from the premise of this sequel. Failing to fully embrace the concept, he ends up conforming to the genre’s most snoring standards, precisely which the director manages to avoid in his first two essays.
Even the crocodile show, however the highlight of Traucki’s feature film viewing, suffers from this sequel status. Aware that he had to update a style based – and there was interest – only in editing, the director opted for a hybrid approach, respecting pseudo-realism and being able to offer some striking shots. The idea works intermittently, tough in certain dungeon raids, completely falters in a climax that’s too bright for its own good, where the CGI that the artist has so carefully avoided so far shines with its idiosyncrasies.
All feature films suffer between these, forced to take a step towards the spectacular without betraying the author’s aesthetic ambitions. Series B and compromise rarely go hand in hand, and the fruits of this balancing act prove it once again. Finally, the fallacy of the two approaches emerges: on the one hand, the highly schematic repetition of animal naturalism, on the other, the disorganized quality of special effects. Stuck between his own ideas and the commercial aspects of this second work, the director chose the path of standardization.
Due to this major flaw in Black Water: Abyss remains the scenario, ticking all the terror boxes that are cut . While the 2007 version was aimed at minimalism, feasting on the frantic reactions of its characters, this 2020 vintage desperately tries to characterize the appetizer group with an uninspiring introduction to the possibilities and an equally awaited subplot (the eternal myth responsible is at the heart of the story).muan) stupid. One of them borders directly on soap operas, reviving some of the chaotic twists and turns of the predictable morality that’s always stuck to the genre’s shell since the 1980s (you’re no good, you’re dead).
Completely rotten by a group of stupid young adults whose choices make them too upset to be pitied, the film also indulges in some suspenseful narrative perks, finishing pushing it into the uninspired horror box, the box that Traucki just picked up in Black Water. . Apart from himself, despite the weapons of his style, he flounders in stagnant waters, waters exploiting his own concepts. Is this the end of the adventures of this creepy creature provider? Given this incredibly awkward essay, his involvement in the pre-production of the sequel to The Reef was at its worst.