June 10th, 2008

BENEATH STILL WATERS (2005) ** ½

Two stupid Spaniard kids trespass in a town that’s about to be purposefully flooded and find a congregation of cannibal Satanists who are chained to the floor and actually WANT to drown.  They try to help the townsfolk out and accidentally unleash the Satanist cult leader (who looks like a wimpier version of Julian Sands) and the dude repays them by taking one of the kids’ heads and turning it into fleshy version of an origami sculpture.

 

Then forty years later, some English bimbo has a bad dream in which her grandfather’s face melts off quicker than that dude from Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Unfazed by that gruesomeness, she goes swimming in the lake where the old town is submerged and one of her friends gets eaten by some pissed off killer seaweed.  The selfish mayor is determined that the Town Fair goes off without a hitch, pissed off killer seaweed or not and plans a cover-up.  We soon learn that the evil cult leader has risen from the dead and is slowly turning the town into pond scum covered zombies and it’s up to the English bimbo and a rugged snorkler to stop him.

 

This nutty-as-a-squirrel-turd flick plays like a messed-up mishmash of Phantasm (creepy old dude), In Dreams (submerged town), Jaws (mayor wants to close the beaches), Troll 2 (the main character’s Grandpa’s ghost shows up to provide helpful advice), and Zombie Lake (‘cause there are zombies in the lake). 

 

The opening of this flick is a real grabber.  I mean it’s usually verboten to kill a kid in a horror movie.   Here, we’re not even five minutes into the movie and already some kid is buying the farm in an over the top grisly manner.  You kinda have to respect that.  Unfortunately the middle section of the film gets pretty soggy and things never quite make a whole lot of sense, but because something extremely random and fucked-up happens every twenty minutes or so; it’s all good.

 

Director Brian (Return of the Living Dead 3) Yuzna throws in everything INCLUDING the kitchen sink on this one, which will make you stand up and say, “What the fuck is going on?!?" more than once.  Other than that, Beneath Still Waters is pretty fun.  For every incoherent moment there’s at least one scene featuring two-headed snake babies, killer seaweed, somebody losing (part of) their head, zombies humping nekkid chicks, people sawing off their Achilles heels for no good reason, people sawing off their limbs for no good reason and Satanic orgies to keep you entertained.    

 

Best line:  “What the Hell do you know, you’re just a cop!”

SOLE SURVIVOR (1983) **

Denise (Anita Skinner) is a commercial producer who is the only survivor of an (offscreen) plane crash.  After the accident, weirdos start coming out of the woodwork and stand around gawking at her.  This makes her very uncomfortable, particularly when a nutty washed-up psychic actress starts having bizarre premonitions about her.  She romances up a young doctor and when she tells him about all the vagrants who are eyeballing her, he tells her that she’s just suffering from “survivor’s syndrome”, which means she just feels guilty that everyone else on the plane died and she gets to live.  Actually, “death” is kinda pissed off that Denise survived the crash and he’s sent an army of zombie hitmen to whack her.

 

This tame, PG rated chiller is kinda like Carnival of Souls Meets Final Destination, except that it’s not nearly as scary as the first film and lacks the outlandish death scenes of the latter.  It would’ve made a halfway decent episode of Twilight Zone though. 

 

The set-up is sound but the movie’s “rules” are extremely vague to say the least.  The movie also suffers from too many ideas and not enough money.  The crash itself is never shown, but the aftermath is well done, especially considering the film’s obviously low budget.  (The legless guy was pretty impressive.) 

 

Although somewhat predictable and slow moving, director Thom Eberhardt is at least able to build up a modicum of atmosphere.  While Sole Survivor is certainly a watchable affair, it’s nothing you haven’t seen before.  I can’t say it’s quite a “good” movie, but any flick featuring a topless Brinke Stevens playing Strip Poker can’t be all bad now can it?

 

Eberhardt went on to make the classic Night of the Comet next.