ESP’s movie critic Gavin Miller has returned to Peterborough’s Showcase Cinema now it’s reopened with plenty of safety measures in place. There’s still a delay in new releases but this horror is fresh to the big screen…
These type of ‘horror’ films are getting harder to make – as there’s only so much you can do with them.
Take this sequel to Australian killer-croc thriller Black Water, which does just about enough – but nothing more.
It’s not as inventive as the generally-lauded 2007 Aussie outback-set original, which sees three youngsters in a battle of wits with a crocodile, to try to and reach their upturned boat within a swampy mangrove forest.
Jump forwards thirteen years – and it’s unlucky for five cave-exploring natives.
Experienced adventurer Eric (former Home and Away star Luke Mitchell), his girlfriend Jennifer (The Meg’s Jennifer McNamee), her bestie Yolanda (Thor: Ragnarok’s Amali Golden), her partner Viktor (Benjamin Hoetjes) and Eric’s pal Cash (Anthony J Sharpe), all head out into the middle of nowhere (of course) in northern Australia to find a hidden cave structure.
But when a tropical storm hits causing water to gush into the narrow caverns and block their original entry point – they’re literally plunged into a dark ‘abyss’ with only torches for company – and to make matters far worse they soon realise they’re not alone with a hungry territorial crocodile in close proximity.
And as the water level rises upwards towards the rock ‘balconies’ they’re marooned on to avoid the stalking croc’s grasp, they have to make the decision to get into the water to try and find a way out before they’re literally ‘sitting ducks’ – or pray for a miracle.
What ensues is an intermittently tense hour and a half that ticks all the boxes it needs to – just not the one where it offers anything different to what has come before it – like the original film or 47 Metres Down. But this is better than the latter’s tepid sequel Uncaged that came out last year – and has a couple of noteworthy death scenes. Which isn’t exactly a spoiler.
With an interesting relationship ‘affair’ pregnancy twist tossed in, Abyss does try to move the needle of the formula by throwing a few narrative curveballs – but it doesn’t do enough to leave it swimming clear of ‘seen it all before’ territory.
And the ending is a little stupid.
But as the only ‘new release’ currently available at Showcase – among a glut of classics and favourites showing across the other screens – it still offers enough bite for film fans yearning for something fresh at the cinema.
And with the impressive Covid-19 regulations the Peterborough cinema-chain has implemented – this sequel is worth snapping up for that alone.
ESP Rating: 3/5
Cast: Jessica McnNamee, Luke Mitchell, Amali Golden, Benjamin Hoetjes & Anthony J Sharpe
Running Time: 1 Hr 38 Mins
Director: Andrew Traucki