Croc horror! Three foolish Australians are menaced by a grumpy reptile in this low-budget screamer from the outback. With a cast that never strays into double figures and a monster that surfaces only for the briefest of close-ups, Black Water is an impressive exercise in naturalistic suspense filmmaking, with an immediacy that rivals 2003's lost-at-sea chiller Open Water. Short, sharp and refreshingly nasty, it's a light antidote to all those heavy Oscar hopefuls clogging up the multiplex.
Black Water doesn't waste any time before wading into perilous depths. We're briefly introduced to our vacationing heroes: pregnant Grace, her can-do boyfriend Adam and her sister Lee, but before you can say "Paul Hogan" they're up croc creek without a paddle. With their guide dead and their boat capsized, Grace and co must somehow escape the wilderness without becoming canapés for the enormous beastie lurking in the murk.
"PLENTY OF BITE FOR YOUR BUCK"
Relying more on suggestion than special effects, co-directors David Nerlich and Andrew Trauki are adept at wringing tension from a stream of bubbles or a carelessly dangling foot. However, their script (based, apparently, on a true story) lacks the imaginative flair that distinguishes a first-class monster movie. The protagonists spend 90 percent of the movie stuck up a tree, failing to come up with either useful solutions or engaging dialogue. Still, the mangrove swamps are a wonderfully menacing location, and you get plenty of bite for your buck. Crocoholics who are hungry for more should also track down Rogue, Gareth Mclean's follow up to Wolf Creek, which has a similar premise but a lot more cash behind the camera.
Black Water is out in the UK on 22nd February 2008.