Elizabeth is tortured by horrible visions from her childhood. She travels to a primative island to discover the truth about her dark past. On the island Elizabeth finds a malevolent order of nuns. There seems to be no escape from the menacing evil that inhabits this strange island.Written by
Bren L. M.
Money up front; if we go down tonight, I want the fish to eat it out of my pocket, when they finish feasting on my eyeballs.
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The 2006 DVD edition from NoShame Films is Mariano Baino's director's cut that actually shortens the film by approximately 7 minutes. The newly excised footage that was seen in earlier versions can now be seen in the 'deleted scenes' section. See more »
Well worth checking out for the concerted horror aficionado....
The first and only feature thus far from Italian filmmaker Mariano Baino clearly wears its influences on its sleeve. The story involves an English woman, returning to the island of her birth where her mother died following the delivery, and then discovers a strange sect steeped in Gothic worship and bizarre mystery.
Following his short film, the much lauded Carancula, Baino embarked on what many believed would be a modern horror masterpiece in the making. Financed by the US, the UK, Russia, and Italy, and filmed on location in the Ukraine, it is of no surprise that the production ran into trouble (see Mark Kermode's account of his own on-set experiences). Yet it is to Baino's credit, and indeed obvious talents as a director, that he manages to pull off something credible, if not quite the epic its promoters (Fangoria magazine being a keen follower) would quite have hoped for.
Mixing in moments of contemporary horror of the likes of The Evil Dead and 80's Italian horror, it strives for much on a clearly evident low budget. Whilst also attempting, to varying degrees of success, to convey the atmospheres of directors like Bunuel, Bava, or prime-time Argento, whilst H P Lovecraft influences seemingly dominate the ending. Some imagery is truly unique. Sequences such as a nun dying on a rock as waves wash over impress, as does a brilliantly surreal scene as the protagonist, Elizabeth, walks across a shore strewn with dead fish. Add to this ambiguous soundscapes throughout the film (a crying baby, demon-like roars) that connect the films narrative, and the cinema of Jean Rollin may spring to mind.
For all the positives however, Dark Waters seems to suffer from similar failings that the other lauded hope of post mid-eighties Italian cinema, Michelle Soavi, suffered. Poor acting, trite scripts often poorly delivered, and over ambitious narratives.
But it is this ambition to make something uniquely visual, to create an atmosphere rarely seen in the genre over the past thirty years, certainly on such a small budget and filming constraints. And for that Mariano Baino, may you one day have the budget to make something else. There is no doubt that he possesses the talent to do so.
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