April 15, 2010


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The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond (R)
Awesomely lame gore, fantastically bad acting and a ridiculous story congeal to form The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond, a movie that also features Robert Patrick.

Mr. Patrick, come on down to accept your Ben Kingsley Anytime, Anywhere Award.

Back in ye olden days (1927, I think the title card said), some archeologists accompanied by a woman who looks like a carnival fortune teller excavate a temple to the god Pan in Turkey. And then one of them calls a guy living at a mansion straight out of Annie, who tells the guy back in Turkey that he wants to be there when they assemble the thing that the temple instructed them to build. And then suddenly the action is on an island off the coast of Maine (I believe) where shortly everyone is dead and a delightfully 1980s-style computer-generated monster is spotted peeking out on the scene from the distance. (I say computer but there’s a good chance it’s actually a cardboard cutout; based on appearance, it could go either way.)

Flash forward to present day. A bunch of kids who don’t merit much individual discussion (with a fascinating array of foreign-ish accents and charmingly different skill levels as actors) come to the island for a vacation. There are three couples — twin sisters (Electra and Elise Avellan), one married to her boy, one engaged — plus a friend (Danielle Harris) with a long-term boyfriend (Walker Howard); a trampy B-movie star (Mircea Monroe); a dude friend who is the coworker of one of the other guys, and a particularly slimey guy everybody hates (James Duval). Robert Patrick plays the “old man” who is the island’s caretaker. After some arguing and banter, the kids settle in for the night and start playing a game they find in the basement with a creepy goat head on it. The game, which is the thing so confusingly discussed in the movie’s prologue, is sort of an evil(er?) Jumanji wherein they roll the dice, pick cards and are encouraged to stupidly reveal all kinds of secrets. Not that the secret-revealing is so necessary — it just kills some time until the game starts to possess the various players and the expected turning-on-each-other gore begins.

I’m not sure what’s more surprising about this movie — that it was released into mainstream theaters or that it managed to get Robert Patrick to run around spouting crankiness and wielding some old-man weaponry. If this is indeed the film student project it appears to be, congrats, kids, on making it this far.

But if this is an actual movie, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to think. Is it a comedy? Certainly, there’s lots of hilarity in the (at best) B-movie, er, everything here (dialogue, acting, special red-corn-syrup effects). The goat’s head that shows up from time to time is always good for laugh — it looks more like a donkey than anything else, perhaps the head from some high school mascot or a horse pulled out of some animatronic cowboy display in some Chuck E. Cheese knock-off.

I’m not sure that The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond is worth the price of admission, even if the plan is to sneak in liquor and goof on it until the ushers are sent to throw you out. But if they ever revive Mystery Science Theater 3000 and put it on during the Rated M hour, here’s a good candidate. F+

Rated R for bloody horror violence and gore, language, drug use and some sexuality/nudity. Directed by Gabriel Bologna and written by Bologna, Michael Berenson and Sean Clark, The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond takes an hour and 40 minutes of your life and is distributed in wide release by Parallel Media.