Welcome back! You read part one, right? Good for you. Or I’m sorry. Depends on how you feel.
We continue our odyssey into the wet and wild world of living dinosaurs with Aussie director Andrew Traucki’s follow up to his 2007 cult hit crocsploitation flic, Black Water. This one is unexpectedly yet expectedly called Black Water: Abyss and was released in everyone’s favorite year, 2020. I’m not sure this is a sequel. I mean, it could be but there isn’t really a connection to the first movie much at all. Other than the croc, of course.
This time the cast is slightly larger. We have two couples and the token idiot. One of the couples consists of a man recovering from cancer and his adventurous and pregnant girlfriend. The other couple seems to be on rocky ground, the woman being quite the pragmatist and the man being more the adventurous type. Kind of like the other couple’s woman. You might want to make note of that fact for later. The idiot’s name is Cash and he brings the group into a newly discovered cave system where a bushwhacking tourist couple recently fell prey to you-know-who. Why is he an idiot? Well, he has no experience spelunking and also knows that a huge rainstorm is about to happen, potentially flooding the caves and trapping everyone inside with a killer Saltwater crocodile. Which of course, is exactly what happens. See? Idiot.
As with the first Black Water, the action takes off fairly quickly. The big difference in this movie is that the croc is kept a little more off to the sidelines. There is a more complex story in this one with the rising waters, a seriously injured compadre and a pearl-clenching soap opera drama reveal! To be honest, this is the inferior of the two movies by far. I’m not saying it’s a bad movie. Just inferior to the masterpiece in tension that is the first one. The biggest let down for me was that the first two-thirds of the film is almost boring. Even with the action of the flooding and the occasional crocodile chow down, it feels anemic. It’s dark. It’s wet. There’s a creature possibly about to bite your lily white ankles off. This shouldn’t feel anemic.
Having said that, the last third of the movie takes a turn to flavortown that gave me whiplash. The croc attacks get downright disturbing. Much more violent than in the first movie. There’s some personal shit being aired out. They be spilling the tea up in that cave. Then just when you think it’s over, it ain’t. I’m not talking about a final Jason-in-the-lake jump scare. I’m talking about a whole other situation the final character(s) must contend with. Seriously, folks. I wasn’t expecting that.
Even the character(s) left at the end surprised me. Usually I can pick who is doomed before my microwave popcorn gets down to two pops per second. This time, I got it only partially right which in my line of work is considered an abject failure deserving of being force fed molten gold or a keelhauling.
If I was comparing this movie to it’s superior predecessor, which I clearly am, I would vehemently insist you watch the 2007’s Black Water immediately and with great fervor. Yet, I would still throw some love over to Abyss as well. The only reason it falls short is because I am holding it to the high standard of the first movie. On its own, it stands firmly on its feet.
Director: Andrew Traucki
Where to Watch: Amazon Prime
Splatterpunk nominated author Susan Snyder’s debut chapbook of poetry.