Five friends (two beautiful couples and the comic relief friend) explore a remote cave system in Northern Australia. A storm traps them inside as water levels underground rise. Moreover, the gang find themselves threatened by a hungry crocodile.
Reptile and crocodile slash alligator horrors tend to be of the B-horror variety and in more recent times, don’t take themselves overly serious. The likes of ‘Lake Placid’ and last year’s hidden gem ‘Crawl’, starring Kaya Scoladeiro, borrow a number of features from their shark horror cousins e.g. ‘Deep Blue Sea’ and ‘The Meg’. They’re aware of how silly they are and make fun of themselves through their over-the-top nature. Not one has measured up to the pinnacle of quality – ‘Jaws’, obviously – though ‘Black Water: Abyss’ does share in common with the Steven Spielberg movie that it doesn’t reveal its monster for ages. And it’s because, like the 1975 movie’s shark, the crocodile here looks crap. Unlike ‘Jaws’ though, its grasp on creating a tense and menacing sense of ambience is seriously lacking.
‘Black Water: Abyss’ (the sequel to 2008’s ‘Black Water’, which actually got decent reviews, explaining the sequel) is full of the plot holes you’ve become well infuriated with and clichés like the phones have no signal and the ‘Final Girl’ plot device you’ve seen hundreds of times. There are perhaps two jump scares in all, so it’s not just not scary enough, the shots of rising water levels proving far more effective than any scenes involving the croc. Those with a fear of drowning or claustrophobia will likely be the only viewers to deem this a “scarefest.”
‘Home and Away’ fans might get a kick out of the cast, as it features such alums of the Aussie soap as Jessica McNamee, Luke Mitchell and Amali Golden. There’s little else to derive pleasure from, and a subplot involving a romantic betrayal comes across as forced and very silly. Surely these characters have more important things to worry about, like survival? In any case, as the first new film to hit Irish cinemas since the closure of theatres for lockdown, cinemagoers may be willing to see just about anything on the big screen. Don’t say we didn’t warn you though – ‘Black Water: Abyss’ is dumb, without the fun.