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The Black Waters of Echo's Pond(2009)
No synopsis for The Black Waters of Echo's Pond.
For more about The Black Waters of Echo's Pond and the The Black Waters of Echo's Pond Blu-ray release, see the The Black Waters of Echo's Pond Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on October 16, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.0 out of 5.
Director: Gabriel Bologna
Starring: Danielle Harris, Robert Patrick
» See full cast & crew
The Black Waters of Echo's Pond Blu-ray Review
A black mark for low budget Horror.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, October 16, 2013
The modern world has yet to see anything like this.
Imagine Jumanji and Zathura meet Evil Dead and get a pretty good visual of The Black Waters of Echo's Pond, a movie about old friends, ancient curses, a board game, and a whole bunch of modern-day violence. It's a mouthful of a title for a movie that's anything but satisfying. And about the only thing it shares in common with those other, significantly better movies is the mix-and-match premise. The Black Waters of Echo's Pond takes what is admittedly a pretty nifty idea and manages to ruin it completely. Beyond the premise -- which is better enjoyed by letting the imagination run wild with possibilities than actually sitting down to watch this take on it -- there's almost nothing to like here. It's a small-budget, wholly vacuous excursion into low end filmmaking and missed potential, not to mention bland characters and poor acting.
In 1927 Turkey, a group of explorers unearths the so-called "Map of Pandemonium" and the story of a frightening pond that is said to have "held all the world's fantasies and nightmares." Fast-forward several decades. A group of twenty-somethings are vacationing on an old Maine island in a house owned by Pete (Robert Patrick), a shotgun-toting good old boy with tales of mystery and murder for the visitors to chew on over dinner. On their first night, the power goes out. They quickly discover an old board game that challenges them to reveal their deepest secrets that are certain to either embarrass them or infuriate their friends. As old wounds are reopened and hormone levels rise, a mysterious evil permeates the group, pushes them towards violence, and may leave none alive by dawn.
Credit The Black Waters of Echo's Pond not so much with an original idea but certainly with finding a way to put a new spin on a couple of old favorite standby plot devices. Discredit the movie everywhere else. Few films can ruin a good idea to the same level as this one. Yes, it's low budget, but good material in the hands of quality filmmakers can overcome the limitations of money. So, what went wrong? There's certainly some good people at work here. Robert Patrick of Terminator 2: Judgment Day fame both stars and Executive Produces. Genre veteran Danielle Harris (Hatchet II and the new and old Halloween films) features prominently as one of the many young adults in the movie. It's certainly not an amateur production, even if it often feels it. Unfortunately, that bit of star power just isn't enough to elevate the movie even up to the level of "passable." It features sloppy continuity (still wondering how Turkey and Maine tie together at the beginning) and generic character arcs (more on that in a minute). The acting never once feels natural, and the premise often comes across as confused. The movie never finds much of a flow, not in its introductory act, not in its epically violent finale, and certainly not in its mix-and-match middle stretch.
One of the primary problems is the lack of connection with the characters. While their innermost private thoughts and extensive group dynamics may have a deep history behind them, it's too much crammed into one ninety-minute movie and it all comes across as but a reason to separate them into groups to facilitate their destruction later in the film. This one is mad at that one about work. Another is angry over a drunk driving accident that left her bother dead. Some want to sleep with others. It's easy enough to keep track of who's who and their basic motivations, but forget feeling even the slightest sympathy or animosity towards any of them. They're all Horror fodder of the worst kind, wannabe deep characters who just come across as needlessly and, ultimately, incompletely shaped for a movie of this scope and ambition. However, the picture will probably satisfy audiences in search of blood and guts. There's a whole lot of nasty in the movie, particularly in its final act. Still, simple gore can't make up for the abused and overwrought character dynamics, leaving every kill more an exercise of "how" rather than "why." The film devolves into a very basic hack-'em-up, the only difference between this and others being the multitude of killers rather than an individual slayer at work.
The Black Waters of Echo's Pond Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Black Waters of Echo's Pond looks its budget on Blu-ray. While there are some scenes that showcase higher tier facial details and general textures around the house and of the board game, just as many, if not more, scenes suffer from a softer, more poorly defined presentation. However, it is clear enough to showcase much of the nasty gore that appears in the second and, primarily, third acts. The movie has a heavy lower grade video feel to it, both in the sepia-toned Turkey sequence to start the film and in the modern day scenes that define the rest of the movie. Colors are fairly nondescript, generally accurate but hardly vibrant or precisely true to life. Black levels often appear rather pale, while flesh tones take on a somewhat pasty, flat appearance. Blocky backdrops are fairly common. It's not a pretty image by any stretch of the imagination, but the Blu-ray does appear fairly true to the source.
The Black Waters of Echo's Pond Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Black Waters of Echo's Pond features a fair Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack. Much like the video, it's adequate in all areas but spectacular in none. Heavy bass can sometimes overwhelm dialogue, particularly near the beginning. Bass does dominate much of the movie; there's plenty of volume and heft to many of the film's biggest explosions of violence. Revving chainsaws, crashes, screams, and all variety of Horror soundtrack mayhem come through evenly and clearly enough. More subtle nighttime atmospherics are well implemented, and general stage presence is quite good, whether in the most chaotic spread of violence or the simple act of a character throwing a bottle and hearing it land somewhere in the back of the stage. Other than that early bass-heavy moment, dialogue generally comes through evenly and accurately. This is no memorable track, but it offers a fun, balanced listen from beginning to end.
The Black Waters of Echo's Pond Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
All that's included with this Blu-ray release of The Black Waters of Echo's Pond is an alternate opening (SD, 2:36).
The Black Waters of Echo's Pond Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Black Waters of Echo's Pond tackles a great idea but cannot follow through. It's quite gory, but the characters are poorly drawn and saddled with artificial arcs that only serve as a framework for the slicing and dicing to come. The acting isn't great, either, and the low budget production values are not enough to mask any of the other shortcomings. In sum, this is a rather miserable experience, but some fans of low-end Horror cinema may find it to their liking. Anchor Bay's Blu-ray release of The Black Waters of Echo's Pond delivers mediocre video, decent audio, and a brief supplement. Skip it.
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The Black Waters of Echo's Pond Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Exclusive Giveaway: The Black Waters of Echo's Pond - September 9, 2013
Blu-ray.com and Anchor Bay Entertainment are offering three members a chance to win a copy of The Black Waters of Echo's Pond, starring Robert Patrick, Danielle Harris, and Sean Lawlor. The horror thriller will be available for purchase online and in stores across ...
• The Black Waters of Echo's Pond Blu-ray - June 20, 2013
Anchor Bay Home Entertainment will release on Blu-ray Gabriel Bologna's horror thriller The Black Waters of Echo's Pond (2009), starring Robert Patrick, Danielle Harris, and Sean Lawlor. The release will be available for purchase online and in stores across the ...
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