30 November 2003 | Gafke
This is not an easy movie to track down, but if you can find it, grab it.
Dark Waters (aka Dead Waters) is a great example of how atmosphere alone can make a movie work. The plot is a little confusing but trust me, you will not care. This movie is a nightmare to rival any that H.P. Lovecraft wrote down.
On a remote island in the Black Sea, there is a convent, a primitive stone fortress without electricity, virtually cut off from the rest of the world. The island is a grim, unlovely place, seemingly made up of stones and dead fish with nary a palm tree in sight. Our young heroine Elizabeth arrives on this island alone. Elizabeth is an orphan; her mother died in childbirth and her father has recently passed away. Elizabeth now wants to know why he had spent his life secretly sending good amounts of money to the convent. The nuns, a grim and sour looking lot, (not so very different from most Catholic nuns I have known) led by a blind and gravel-voiced Mother Superior, give her no straight answers, but allow Elizabeth to stay with them for the time being. Elizabeth begins having horrific nightmares, and this is where the movie really succeeds in frightening its viewers. The nightmares are truly terrifying, particularly the one in which a crucified SOMETHING approaches the camera as though on a track, opens its mouth and simply emits the most hideous, inhuman howl ever heard. It sounds like a long lost beast stuck in a tar pit, and gave me the creeped out shivers for days afterwards.
Elizabeth is befriended by a young, sweet tempered nun named Sarah, who tries to help her escape from the island. But of course, there is no escape. The answers she came looking for at the convent are all there, and too late, she learns that some things are better unknown. The truth about her birth, her mother and her identity come out in a shocking (and, unfortunately, somewhat rushed) finale with a twist that I truly had not seen coming...and I thought I'd seen them all. The only complaint I had? I wanted to see more of the monster. The glimpse I got of it showed me a bug eyed, razor mouthed THING straight out of a Lovecraftian primordial soup. But it didn't last nearly long enough.
This is a good, creepy film to watch with all the lights off, if you dare. It may move too slow for some, but if you like genuinely spooky films, lots of dark, rainy atmosphere and the cold, slimy unknown, you'll like this one.