Nine friends take a holiday at a Victorian home on a private island and uncover a game that when played brings out the worst in each of them. Jealously, greed, hatred, lust, all of the things they keep buried deep inside themselves rise to the surface and come to a boil.
In the scheme of reviewing films, a few titles come along that despite being mentioned time and time again (on the internet) never seem to arrive promptly for the reviewers circuit to actually provide adequate screeners. In other words, the title seems to not only elude viewing at the time of creation, but for years afterwards.
“The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond” is one such title that has remained pretty elusive unless you happened to have caught one of its rare live screenings. Because of this, the product creates this “need” to see it more than it actually “may” be worth. Then again it could all be an elaborate marketing ploy.
A review is finally in order several years later as at last one such copy arrives for reviewing. The cover with its eerie black pool and the curious title that almost demands attention, makes for a good combination in the interest of marketing to genre viewers.
The film opens on a research team in mid-excavation that have just uncovered ancient writings detailing the creation of a game. They describe it as being a game that opens a doorway into pandemonium. This leads to some very high interest that falls apart as quick as it arrives. The game is hidden for good measure.
Skip forward into the hipper “now generation” as 9 friends arrive on what I assume to be an off the map Maine island. The island itself serves as a perfect setting for ancient pandemonium to arrive. The setup here feels pretty familiar as it mirrors just about every other horror film formula created these days. When they finally discover the “Jumanji” model game, the group begins down a path of emotional confessions and chaos that emerges from the game’s sinister influence.
With common horror genre patterns emerging pretty quickly, I was initially hoping for more from this film. That being said, “The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond” is not bad. The demonic presence thing is injected pretty early but arrives slightly more like a slasher film.
As the group continues to play the board game, an influence begins to soak into the cards they pull that directs them into a slow unraveling disguised as fun and games. Lurking in the background, the devil seems to be pulling the strings as the show unfolds. First playful and suggestive, culminating into danger, deceit, lies, revenge and death.
Overcome with emotional baggage each of the players transform into black eyed dripping killers that fall somewhere between survival and just plain violence. We get plenty of flashbacks induced by the game’s black pond which we never quite get a truthful answer to if it is imagined or based on true events.
I would had hoped that the film could have upped the anty on the possession scenes with perhaps a bit more visual effects. When we do see the devil lurking, I’m much more reminded of a TV horror host that loves to watch as the show mows on.
For horror fans, you do get moments that feel like old school slasher fare with other moments that delve into torture p&rn. Never quite hitting the bar of excellence, “The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond” is just an ok film with lots of sexiness, young adult foreplay and a bit of slice and dice.
The similarities to “Jumanji” while in play is a bit too derivative to be original. A better direction for this film may have been a slow unleashing of hell’s gate upon the island residents in the form of extremely dark situations.
I would have loved to see the forbidden zone taken to the next level with alternate worlds bringing in chaos and really upping the 3rd act. In short, you will be entertained enough to call it a one off viewing that probably won’t be repeated too much after.
The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond is now available per Anchor Bridge Entertainment
The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond (2009)