Review by Jack Foley
GRACE (Diana Glenn), her boyfriend Adam (Andy Rodoreda) and her younger sister Lee (Maeve Dermody) are on holiday in Northern Australia when they decide to take a river tour with Jim (Ben Oxenbould), their guide.
But as they head deep into a mangrove swamp their boat is capsized and in the ensuing panic Jim disappears. Realising they’ve been attacked by a crocodile, the three survivors make it to a tree and face an anxious wait for survival.
The premise may sound familiar to anyone that’s seen Open Water but writer-directors David Nerlich and Andrew Traucki have crafted an extremely tense chiller in Black Water that’s supposedly inspired by true events.
By shooting on location with real crocodiles, the co-directors genuinely add to the authenticity of the predicament and include several jump-out-of-your-seat moments that are designed [and succeed] to reduce your nerves to tatters.
Of the performers, all three are amiable and worth rooting for (unlike the principal players in Open Water) but Dermody, especially, convincingly juggles fear with a strong-willed determination to survive.
Glenn’s Grace, meanwhile, adds to the emotion surrounding the situation by revealing (to her sister) that she is newly pregnant and has yet to tell Adam. It increases the stakes nicely but while a Hollywood production might have used it to manipulate emotions or even make it easy to predict survivors, Nerlich and Traucki afford viewers no such grace.
Their use of the crocodile is similarly impressive, concealing the beast for the majority of the time (much like the original Jaws) and then affording themselves some grandstanding sequences that will have audiences gasping for breath.
Come the grim conclusion, Nerlich and Traucki have done enough to ensure that Black Water stays with you for a long time afterwards. It’s an incredibly tense experience.
Running time: 90mins
UK DVD Release Date: June 16, 2008