Saturday, March 21, 2009

Dark Waters

The term Lovecraftian often brings with it a sense of great foreboding, particularly in the realm of film, where most movies made based off of Lovecraft’s stories have tended to be horrible. Fortunately, this film manages to sidestep that problem, perhaps because it’s only stylistically similar to Lovecraft’s work, rather than being based on any specific work of his. Granted, that didn’t really work for Cthulhu Mansion, but you work with that you’ve got.

The film, by director Mariano Baino (I’m eagerly awaiting the day he decides to grace us with a second film, so I can see if this one wasn’t just a fluke), a girl travels to an island monastery connected to her family. According to the IMDB synopsis, she’s there following her father’s death to discover why he had been funding the place, but I must have missed the sudden burst of exposition within the film itself. Strange of me, both given that I've seen it twice and still had no real clue why she had originally decided to go there, and because there is such little dialogue in the film that I like to think I’d have heard it. Seriously, there’s maybe a hundred lines in the entire film. I’d say it verges on being a silent film were it not for the sound effects and surprisingly rousing music.

Regardless, the lack of much sound greatly adds to the overall creepiness of the film, which as you have no doubt guessed involves the monastery being a front for a murderous cult that is sacrificing women to help free a demonic figure trapped within the building. While it’s not a true Italian production – it was filmed in the Ukraine, co-financed by British and Russian companies – Baino gives it so much of the feel of the Italian horrors of the 70s and 80s that I feel it proper to label it as such. Sadly, the nuns don’t all get naked, or I could have cheerfully filed this one as nunsploitation as well, but the general mood and tension of the film make up for that tragic absence, I guess. Plus most of the nuns are a little too old to still be considered attractive, some even seeming to be in their mid-30s! It’s scandalous, really.

Rating: ***

No comments: