PLOT: When nine friends get together for a holiday at an old Victorian mansion on an isolated island, they discover a mysterious game. Once they begin to play, the group find themselves revealing deep, dark secrets and doing a little damage to each other. Old fashioned B-movie horror ensues.
There has been a lot of rumbling about a new horror flick that includes a pretty decent group of genre actors, including Danielle Harris, James Duval and Robert Patrick. It was also co-written by a gentleman named Sean Clark, along with Michael Berenson and director Gabriel Bologna. While I wasn’t too clear on the story going in, I did know that there was supposedly a very old school bit of horror love in this tale of, quite literally, a dangerous game. After all, you have a ton of young people, left on an island far from civilization, and don’t forget about the gore and T & A. Yep, it is all there, and it is done with a wink and a nod to the golden age of slasher films.
The idea of doing an homage to an 80’s horror film has become typical fare in horror. Yet The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond is much more than that, it is as close to those inspirations as it could possibly be. Now this is generally a good thing, but it also shares some of the negative aspects as well. While some of the dialogue can get kind of hokey, and there are a few weak performances, it only adds to that Eighties vibe. While I sincerely doubt they wanted bad performances, it honestly felt closer to the real thing because of it. In fact, much of the beauty that makes it easy to revisit slashers of old, is the sometimes not so great qualities. The moments that stand out may very well be the ridiculous ones that are not necessarily brilliant works of cinema.
As for the look of Echo‘s Pond, it is pretty basic and nothing terribly creative. There were a few sequences that seemed like they could’ve been shot with a little more style. This was especially obvious when we discover this amazing location with a set of stairs leading to a dock. I would’ve loved to see that particular set used a little more creatively. Still, the tension is there, although it occasionally lags a little bit when it should be stronger. I also found the constant view of this evil game in action to be a bit repetitive. I get it, it is a bad game that looks super creepy. I will add that whoever designed this bad boy, good on them! But with all the negative, Echo’s Pond is exactly what it should be. It is a fun and entertaining flick that offers audiences enough gore and nudity to truly be called a slasher flick.
I always find this type of film to be more interesting when it spends a little time with the characters. And this certainly does. At least for me, I actually cared about a handful of these players. Most notably, Danielle Harris and the lovely Mircea Monroe. I also enjoyed seeing genre vet, James Duval doing what he does best. He manages to play a dickweed very well, but somehow Duval makes for a very likable dickweed. Even the lesser performances seemed to fit and I found most of the cast engaging enough. Sometimes it is the bad performances that are notable when you think old school slasher. But of course, the dude who really stood out was the great Robert Patrick. He was funny when necessary and pretty damn badass when those crazy teens didn’t know how to treat his home proper.
As for the gore… you want the red stuff? You got it here. We get chainsaws a buzzin’ and a bloody bit of business with a rake. In many ways, this is a perfect tribute to horror of old. The blood and guts, the nudity and the b-movie zeal help make this a solid piece of entertainment. Is it perfect? No, but for what it is and what it wants to be, you could certainly do a lot worse. My rating 7.5/10 -- JimmyO