Ginger Nuts of Horror
Watching 'The Watermen' is a simple process and so, if I understood it right, was writing it. To call it formulaic is not doing justice to the thousands of hours that the writer must have spent trawling through 1980s low-budget slasher flicks to find the some of the very worst clichés so he could bundle them up and insert them into a film which is so pedestrian there should be a zebra-crossing in it.
At my local monthly flea-market there's a really nice guy who sells DVDs and Blu-Rays. I bought 4 Blu's for 10 euro so he said I can have a DVD for free. SCORE! So I pick up 'The Watermen' from the horror section, mainly out of curiosity as it stars Jason Mewes from such classics as Clerks, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Scream 3 and Dogma to name a few. So I am asking myself what he will bring to a straight-forward slasher flick. He brings 'Jay', no different to anything else he's done; he plays himself so well that it would be hard for him not to.
At first being himself fits rather well into the film as he is one of three guys taking three girls on his fancy yacht (Mewes plays a millionaire) for a spot of fishing and gratuitous sex, there's the puerile spying on girls changing clothes, cannabis aplenty, the obligatory nude shower scene provided by the petite and curvy Ashley Myers and a totally realistic end to that scene provided by Mewes. The only thing missing is the 'Token bad-ass Black Guy', which was somehow refreshing.
The whole idea of the film is that it (as advertised) is something of a cross between 'Wrong Turn' and 'Open Water', which to be quite honest about it is not far off the mark, except to say that both of those films are superior to this one.
Where does it go wrong?
For me it was mostly some of the worst dialogue I've heard in a long time. The titular 'Watermen' were virtually incomprehensible crab fishermen taking boats out daily to support the restaurant trade et cetera, until supplies dwindled, the reason for which is clumsily dealt with in a piece of exposition Scooby-Doo wouldn't have touched with a bargepole. The 'Watermen' discover that human meat is crab catnip, and the young juicy fun-seekers are ideal chum, so slaughtering them is a logical step to earning a few bucks not only by using them as bait for their own nets but to sell to keen fishermen wanting good bait. What follows is a by-the-numbers horror with little to make it stand out except for… The dialogue.
Get this: AFTER being drugged, tied up, assaulted and losing two of their friends the remaining four survivors say things like "Who ARE these people?" and "What IS this place?" when any sane person would be shutting the fuck up and getting the hell out, this is just over an hour into the movie, by which time it's pretty much established that the people are murderous fishermen and the place is a shack on an island that they actually wanted to visit earlier. That's just a little surface scrape of dialogue from a truly awful script. The sad thing is that for the most part the acting is passable, I've seen worse.
Action? Yep, plenty, even there though there's many a problem, the main one being complete stupidity. Example: Three unconscious girls in a room, two on tables and one on a chair, the one on the chair has her head back, even unconscious your head would tilt forward, but that's the least of the crime here as one of them wakes up, frees herself from her bonds, unties and rouses the others and they arm themselves just as a bad guy enters. One of the girls jumps on the bad guy's back and repeatedly smacks his head with a hammer, but he's not going dropping, in fact he doesn't even appear to be in need of an aspirin, another girl has a shovel with which she protects her sorry self by holding it across her chest as she doesn't appear smart enough to use the pointy end to attack him with, in fact none of them seem to be able to attack him as they are all waiting for the hero who comes in and dispatches the baddie with a few punches. My guess is that the hammer must have tenderized his meat a little.
Just for shits and giggles, if you have never seen a horror film in which four survivors loiter around the killing room, making idle chit-chat, with no hint of an attempt at escaping while they wait to get slaughtered, then this is the film for you, hell it even has a 'damsel in distress tied to a conveyor belt' scene in it.
There's a muscular hero who can punch his way through water quite well, his brother who is able to survive a shotgun blast to the chest at near point-blank range and then drown only to come back and help with a makeshift bomb. There are stock villains including the thick-as-pigshit small town killers, scar-faced lackey, fat boss man, and the indestructible villain they are hoping will become an action figure. My guess is that it won't.
If you do decide to watch 'The Watermen' go right ahead, it's so bad that it's almost good. ALMOST.
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