Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Blu-ray Review: THE BLACK WATERS OF ECHO'S POND (2010)


Region Code: A
Rating: R
Duration: 93 Minutes
Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 with Optional English and Spanish Subtitles
Video: 1080p Widescreen (1.78:1)
Director: Gabriel Blogna
Cast: Danielle Harris, James Duvall, Mircea Monroe, Walker Howard, Electra Avellan, Elise Avellan, Nick Mennell, M.D. Walton, Arcady Golubovich, Robert Patrick 
Tagline: Where Your Deepest Secrets Are Revealed

Well, this took it's sweet time finding it's way to DVD and Blu-ray, which is not always a good sign, but it's not always a fatal blow either. I remember that Trick 'r Treat (2007) took quite a while to emerge on Blu-ray, and that's one awesome Halloween watch so going into this I wasn't put off by that fact, just curious why it languished so long without a release. . 

In The Black Waters of Echo's Pond (2009) young couple Anton (Arcadiy Golubovich, Autopsy) and wife Erica (Elise Avellan, Grindhouse) invite a group of friends to stay the weekend on a remote island of the coast of Maine at a Victorian home with a history that's owned by grizzled family friend Pete (Robert Patrick, T2: Judgement Day). We get an average group of annoying horror stereotypes, there's Erica's twin sister Renee (Electra Avellan, Grindhouse), her fiance Josh (Nick Mennell, Friday the 13th), Kathy (Danielle Harris, Halloween), the brown guy Robert (M.D. Walton), the black dude Trent (Walker Howard), the slutty blonde Veronique (Mircea Monroe) and the guy no one likes Rick (James Duvall, (Donnie Darko), there's some real friction between him and Kathy whose brother died in a car wreck that involved Rick in some way, it's further explored as the film roles along. 

The party rolls on until the power goes out that night, by chance Anton 

discovers a century old board game sealed up behind a wall and the group set down for some game play by candle light. It's sorta like a Greek mythology version of Life or Monopoly, with each role of the dice they move a said amount of spaces and draw a card of chance that instruct each player to reveal a secret, voice a buried jealousy or dare another player to perform some indecent act, sounds like fun so far, right? What the game does is tap into the fears, jealousies and desires of each of the players and what had previously been a minor annoyance, lust or insecurity between friends starts to turn violent and deadly real quickly as tempers start to flare, things start to get quite bloody. 

What's happening seems to be possession of each player by the demonic mythical creature called Pan through the board game, the hoofed beast of myth even makes a few small appearances but perhaps not to the degree some might hope for, this isn't a film about Pan axing his way through a group of 20-somethings, though that would have been awesome. The design of the horned, red-eyed beast is pretty great, I wished to see more of him but I  think the film works quite well as just a group of friends turning against each other.

My main issue with the film is that I think the cast is a bit to large for it's own good, we don't get a lot of character development, I think they could have whittled this down this cast by about half and given Robert Patrick a bit more to do, but nor do I mind watching nine friends turn nasty and do awful things to each other, in that respect it's not unlike a Friday the 13th film, a large cast of annoying folks dying one by one, this is a bit more twisted, it's nine friends killing each other and that's a fun time, too.  

Disc: The Blu-ray from Anchor Bay presents the film in 1080p with an MPEG4-AVC encode in widescreen (1.78:1) with Dolby True HD 5.1 audio and it looks quite nice, a pleasing hi-def image with some modest depth and clarity. The 5.1 is nice but not overly active, some decent use of the surrounds but it's not gonna blow-up your speakers. The only extra is an Alternate Opening (2:36) offering up a subtlety different variation on the film's opening pre-credit sequence which takes place in Turkey in the year 1927. There are no deleted scenes, commentaries or featurettes. 

Verdict: It's not a oozing gore but it's pretty bloody, there's even a damn decent chainsaw dismemberment scene once things start to churn.  Truly, it's just not that original, aside from Greek mythology angle it's your basic pretty people in peril story but it's  fun with some decent grue and some breasts. I'd recommend this as a Netflix or Redbox purchase, perfect Friday night fare for a group viewing with a few tasty brews. Watching this brought me back to those heated nights of Monopoly with the family that ended in a cacophony of shouted f-bombs and hurt feeling, fun stuff. 3 Outta 5