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'Black Water Vampire' DVD Review

About.com Rating 2.5 Star Rating

By

Black Water Vampire
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The Bottom Line

Competent but generic found footage fare whose only identifying feature is its villain.

Pros

  • Good creature design
  • Solid acting
  • Intriguing concept

Cons

  • Annoying characters
  • Script not fully flushed out
  • Distracting camerawork

Description

  • Starring Danielle Lozeau, Andrea Monier, Anthony Fanelli, Robin Steffen, Bill Oberst Jr.
  • Directed by Evan Tramel
  • Rated NR
  • Release Date: January 21, 2014

Black Water Vampire DVD Review

In late 2012, documentarian Danielle Mason leads a film crew -- including producer Andrea Adams, cameraman Anthony Russell and sound guy Rob Allen -- to investigate the Black Water Killings, a series of murders that have taken place in the Blackwater Creek area outside Fawnskin, Washington over the past 40 years. Beginning in 1972, a woman has been murdered in a similar manner -- body drained of blood -- every 10 years on December 21.

With that date approaching, the documentary crew interviews the man convicted and jailed for the murders, Raymond Banks, whom Danielle feels is innocent. He cryptically says "they" committed the killings, while drawing a symbol resembling a circle with a "T" inside, matching a mark found on the bodies. The filmmakers venture into the woods (not bringing any weapons, for some reason), rumored by locals to be home to vampires, and of course they end up getting lost. As night falls, strange noises and occurrences in the wilderness indicate that there's something ominous going on in the area, and they could find themselves the next victims.

The found footage format has tackled ghosts, zombies, demons, aliens, serial killers, dinosaurs, Bigfoot and even Frankenstein, but strangely, vampires have largely been absent. With its subject matter, then, Black Water Vampire brings with it a level of intrigue and originality to peak horror fans' interest. The execution, however, is by the book and, with its camp setting and perpetual lost-in-the-woods bickering, it ends up playing largely like a Blair Witch Project retread with a vampire instead of a ghost.

The movie's primary appeal, as indicated in the striking DVD cover art, is the creature design and makeup. The animalistic vampire is intimidating and creepy and is able to help provide a couple of scares. Unfortunately, "a couple" is all the film has to offer, with the rest of the time occupied by squabbling from the annoying, largely interchangeable characters and scenes that introduce a mythology that's never fully explained or exploited. Additionally, the camerawork is distractingly "accurate" for a found footage flick -- i.e., the otherwise shaky, unfocused shots suddenly lock in and zoom onto significant items as if the cameraman were a sniper. Just one of the things you don't think about in this style of film until you see it done wrong.

That said, Black Water Vampire certainly isn't the worst of the recent found footage crop. It's a middle-of-the-pack affair with good production value that stands out because of its titular villain, who deserves a fuller storyline to exploit his/her potential.

The DVD

Special features include a featurette.

Movie: C
DVD: D

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