Director: Evan Tramel
Writer: Evan Tramel
Cast: Danielle Lozeau, Andrea Monier, Anthony Fanelli, Robin Steffen and Bill Oberst, Jr.
Reviewed by Char
3.5 Out of 5
There has been two found footage horror films that I couldn't wait to own...The Blair Witch Project and The Bay and now I have added The Black Water Vamp:re to that list. What did all of these have in common other than found footage, possibly the budget. Ha! Most likely a unknown cast, aside for Bill Oberst, Jr. being a familiar face in Black Water Vamp:re, the rest of the cast were virtually unknown to me as was the case in the other two films. Did not knowing the actors make it better? Perhaps. It made it more real for me. I have read some reviews already for this film and was at first turned off to the idea of even watching it, but I had sat through a witch hunt and ecological pollutant issue, so I couldn't resist the lure of the vampire myth. I am glad I gave in.
|One of the victims of the Black Water Murders|
Synopsis, I really should tell you what the film is about before I go any further with my comments and thoughts. Danielle (Danielle Lozeau) Mason, Andrea (Andrea Monier) Adams go online and hire a cameraman to join them in making a documentary about The Black Water Murders. Four women over a course of 40 years have been found, drained of blood in the snowy wooded mountains of Black Water and their believed killer Raymond (Bill Oberst, Jr.) Banks is on death row. Banks is to be put to death in a matter of three months and Danielle isn't convinced of his guilt, not when all the police have is circumstantial evidence. A confession after a grueling amount of time where Banks was without legal representation is not enough to convince Danielle. She wants to investigate and trek through the area to gain insight on Banks and the murders.
Danielle ropes friend Rob (Robin Steffen) Allen to come along as the sound guy. He is not enthused but for a friend he comes along for the journey. Once he finds out what the people of Black Water believes lives in the woods, he changes his tune. The people of Black Water believe there is a Vampire that lives in the woods, but they believe strongly that Raymond Banks is the "devil" and that it was Banks who murdered those women. The four filmmakers move on and Rob complains the whole time.
Their time spent in town talking to different people about the film is intriguing and one old guy was a little entertaining. The four finish for the day and head to where they had rented a cabin for the night from one of the locals. On their way to the cabin, something distracts the driver Anthony and he swerves and hits a pot hole, thus getting a flat tire for his troubles. Wait until you see what happens, when they flag down a truck for help. Later they arrive at the cabin, much later than planned, to find the owner of the cabin not in the best of spirits due to their being tardy. She is questioned about Raymond Banks it from her the viewer hears her comment that Banks is "the devil".
|Left to Right: Rob, Anthony, Andrea and Danielle in tent.|
The next day the four are back in their car loaded up for a three day hike destination Raymond Banks home. From this point the film takes the viewer on intimate trek in the cold snow, with 3 friends and cameraman they just met. Rob whines and complains like a toddler, the whole time he is wanting to turn back and then when the sun goes down...the night sounds break out and there is one sound in particular that will make your skin crawl and have the occupants of a tent freaking out. What they learn is they probably should have stayed at home and far from the hills of Black Water.
My thoughts...I really liked this film. One can't help but be reminded of The Blair Witch Project while watching The Black Water Vamp:re and that is okay, only difference is these filmmakers are looking for evidence to support that Raymond Banks is in fact the Black Water Murders killer and disprove that vampires actually exist. There are 4 people involved with this film where there were only three in The Blair Witch Project. But as in the other film, this film has symbols that should warn the filmmakers to turn back, but they don't, they push forward.
|Raymond Banks (Bill Oberst, Jr.)|
The acting in this film felt natural. The only person I felt was truly "acting" was the cabin owner. She looked like she was trying to hard to be creepy. Bill Oberst, Jr. was an excellent choice for the part of Raymond Banks. He has the "creepy factor" down pat. There is a scene where Danielle goes to the jail where Banks is incarcerated and talks to him. He is sitting there gnawing on what's left of his finger nails and giving her a positively evil look. He is less convincing to the viewer that he is innocent. But if the viewer listens to what he tells Danielle, then they will pick up on a delectable morsel about what truly happened. To get his point across to Danielle, Raymond leaves a bloody present, one you just have to see for yourself.
The viewer will in fact see the mythical vampire and what I liked most about the handling of the creature is that you hardly see it. It's there in the dark, but just like the characters, the viewer can't see it, but you know its there. Creepy! When the creature is used, it is seen a little more, but still in shadows with a few close ups. I will tell you this, if you weren't exactly sure of what the creature looks like and you wake up in the middle of the night to it breaking into your tent, it is freaking scary.
My biggest complaint is the cover art for the DVD. I think the creature's face should not be on the cover. It takes away from the "what's in the woods" mystique and in a way shows the viewer too soon what to expect. If distributor had kept with how the creature is not overly seen in the film, then they should not have put it's likeness on the cover. For me, it kind of ruined the scare and for that reason I am not using the picture of the DVD. I found one on Google with the symbol that is used in the film. I recommend seeing this film even if you get a copy from Red Box, try it. You can always buy a copy later if you decide it's a keeper for you too. I am thankful that I accepted the screener that was offered, because now I can watch it over and over. I have already watched it four times and just like with the other two films I mentioned, The Black Water Vamp:re is a keeper. 3.5 Out of 5.