Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A group of friends head to a remote island for some drinks, drugs and a four-way with two twin sisters, only to discover(after tearing boards off of the wall for no reason) an ancient, evil game that, when played, turns the players against one another, causing them to die one by one. Sound familiar? Of course it does. This same movie has been made a couple dozen times. Recently, Eliza Dushku starred in such a film called Open Graves. And, while that movie was craptastic, I can assure you that it is a cinematic masterpiece, when compared to The Black Waters Of Echo’s Pond.
The real problem I had with this film, was not the terrible, terrible acting, nor the nonsensical plot. These are things I can forgive for an interesting, and perhaps a competently executed premise. What I can’t forgive when it comes to a film like this, is for me to press the info button on my remote, to verify that I have been watching this movie for forty five minutes, and not a damn thing has happened yet. If you know anything about me, you know that slow burning horror films are my ish. I think that Ti West’s The House Of The Devil, is one of the five best films of the last decade. So, I don’t need nonstop action to satiate my desire to be entertained. But, in a film like this, slow building is the wrong format. You don’t make a generic movie like this to assault the viewer’s senses with thick atmosphere. The setup is simple. The quicker your annoying group of friends finds and plays the haunted game, the quicker you can start killing them off. And trust me when I say, there is not a single character in this movie that you will wish to be spared.
You read that correctly. For forty five minutes, you will be subjected to absolutely nothing, beyond poor readings of some of the worst dialog that has penetrated my ear holes for quite a while. When the killing starts, was it worth the wait? No, it was not. I was glad to finally see some of these winners with their insides on the outside, but the ends most definitely did not justify the means. And, the entire cast isn’t unknowns. There are several familiar faces, and even their performances were cringeworthy. Danielle Harris’ involvement in a film does not always guarantee quality, and Echo’s Pond is proof positive of that. The script is awful, so it’s not like she was tripping over her lines or anything like that, but that doesn’t excuse a poor performance entirely. Robert Patrick’s career has taken quite a fall since he melted and reformed in Terminator 2. I have no idea why he agreed to be a part of this catastrophe. The fact that it’s been sitting on a shelf since 2009, and finally dumped direct-to-video by Anchor Bay leads us to believe that there was little to no paycheck involved.
The one instance of mild enjoyment I got out of this film, came from a death scene that was a total exercise in overkill. I’m not going to tell you which character bites it, but to be honest, by the time the deaths start happening, you’ll have already forgotten who is who anyway. But, a character has one entire side of his head blown off by a shotgun, and when his body falls, the side of his head that remains in-tact, lands in a set bear trap. My wife and I watched this movie together, and she’s not one for blood and gore, but even she was laughing uncontrollably at this scene. The rest of the deaths either happen off screen, or are entirely forgettable. If you’re going to make me sit through forty five minutes of unbearable bullshit, the least you can do is satisfy my need to see all of the actors killed in horrific ways.
I know it’s useless to attack a film like this from a logical standpoint, but some of the things that happen are so ridiculous, and impossible to explain. When they first discover the basement that houses the ancient evil, the stairs collapse almost entirely. Yet, when they discover this giant crate in the wall for no reason, somehow they’ve managed to carry it up the stairs that no longer exist. When a character goes insane, and is about to start the killing, their eyes turn solid black. This doesn’t seem to bother anyone that witnesses one of their friends after they’ve been taken over by evil. No one even reacts at all, to be honest. Another thing that boggled my mind, was the fact that there is this big ass goat/man hybrid running around, dancing provocatively in various corners of the house, wearing some sort of bikini. This is never explained, nor does it ever serve any kind of purpose. It just is. And that’s a pretty good way to explain the existence of this movie. It just is. It was filmed, it was bad, and now it will be released straight to DVD/Blu-Ray on Tuesday, September 10th. I can think of a million better ways that you could waste your time than sitting through this pile of rubbish. Have an ingrown toenail? Dig that out with a rusty nail instead.