Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 10th, 2017
BluRay released: April 11th, 2017
Approximate running times: 92 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Severin Films
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95
Synopsis: A young woman Elizabeth returns to a remote island where she was born twenty years later after the death of her father. Once at the island she goes to the monastery where her friend Theresa a nun is supposed to be waiting for her. Theresa has disappeared without giving any word of her return so the nuns have Sister Sara take care of all of Elizabeth’s needs. The longer Elizabeth stays on the island the more she uncovers about her past and her search for the truth only further puts her own life in danger.
Dark Waters when released twenty four years ago somehow didn’t find its audience which is a shame since it embodies all what it good with in the horror genre and not the water down horror films that have assaulted us since its release. The film is an atmospheric horror film that makes you think and even has some characters that are more than one dimensional. The story is well rounded still there are a few moments in the film where the narrative tends to drag or drift off course into another dimension.
Now to the important stuff, are there killings, yes and most of them are bloody even though a lot of the killing is done off screen. Also, no movie about nuns would be complete without some nudity or at least some torture. There are a few instances of self-inflicted torture that is done in a stylishly sleazy way. His use of color and knack for capturing Gothic set pieces is reminiscent of the style employed in most horror films that came out of Italy in the 1970’s and early 1980’s.
Director Mariano Baino is a strong visual storyteller who lets the images do most of the talking and only relies on dialog minimally. His sense of building suspense and setting the mood is what drives this film home visually. The various locations used in the film are all wonderful choices that greatly enhance the overall production value of the film. Ultimately Dark Waters is the best horror film that no one has heard of that is until now.
Dark Waters comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. For this release a brand-new HD transfer was created from the film’s original 35mm negative. In motion this transfer looks better than its does in static screenshots and when compared to No Shame’s DVD, this transfer improves upon, image clarity, colors look more vibrant and black levels are much stronger.
This release comes with one audio option, Dolby Digital stereo mix in English and included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. Dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced. Range wise this audio mix does a superb job with the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack and this audio mix sounds robust when it needs too.
Extras for this release include, an introduction with director Mariano Baino (2 minutes 36 seconds), deleted scenes (7 minutes 14 seconds), a silent blooper reel with audio commentary with Mariano Baino (2 minute 52 seconds), three featurettes – Lovecraft Made Me Do It (9 minutes 51 seconds), Let There Be Water (6 minutes 44 seconds) and Controlling the Uncontrollable (5 minutes 10 seconds), a documentary titled Deep into the Dark Waters (50 minutes 27 seconds), a music video directed by Mariano Baino titled Face and the Body (4 minutes 30 seconds), three short films directed by Mariano Baino – Dream Car (16 minutes 16 seconds, with an optional audio commentary track with Mariano Baino), Caruncula (21 minutes 26 seconds, with an optional audio commentary track with Mariano Baino) and Never Ever After (13 minutes 47 seconds, with an optional audio commentary track with Mariano Baino), a making of featurette for Never Ever After (14 minutes 4 seconds) and an audio commentary with Mariano Baino and moderated by Michele De Angelis.
The three featurettes’ all feature comments from Mariano Baino who discusses the role Horror literature and comic books have played in his evolution as a filmmaker, H.P. Lovecraft, Fangoria, Creepy Comics, how they shot the scene where a church is flooded (and footage from the five cameras is shown in this extra), how there are unforeseeable things that prevent complete control in the filmmaker process and how drawing images allows him to have complete control over his art.
The extra titled Deep into the Dark Waters includes comments from Mariano Baino, Louise Salter, Steve Brooke Smith, Rick Littler and Nigel Dali. This is a well-rounded feature in which the various participants discuss the difficulties making Dark Waters and working on a film in Ukraine.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary include, why they shot the film in the Ukraine, production / set design, how they shot the scene where a church is flooded, how as a filmmaker he is more influenced by literature then cinema when it comes to creating his visuals, H.P. Lovercraft, the cast and why they had to replace their original actress who they cast in the leading role, the visuals, the directors’ cut, difficulties they faced throughout the while filming and in post-production.
Overall Dark Waters gets a strong release from Severin Films.
Note: This film is also being released by Severin Films on DVD.