Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A group of young filmmakers goes into the woods to shoot a documentary about a number of gruesome murders that took place there. Along the way, they discover mysterious symbols marking the trees, experience something brush their tent in the middle of the night, become lost, have an argument over a map, one of them mysteriously vanishes, and are then never heard from again. All that remains to mark their trip is the footage they shot along the way. Oh, but this time around it’s a vampire, not a witch.
As the above strongly suggests, The Black Water Vampire is not just a found footage horror movie inspired by The Blair Witch Project’s success, but guilty of stealing the superior film’s entire structure. Nothing says being on the bleeding edge of filmmaking than aping a 15 year-old movie most of your audience has already seen.
I’d provide a more detailed synopsis, but if you’ve seen The Blair Witch Project, that’s entirely unnecessary. The Black Water Vampire features a cast of four people, rather than three, takes place during the winter, and spends slightly more time in civilized parts before venturing out into the woods. Otherwise, you’re not going to find much in the way of new ground in this one. The film is more competently done and the acting of a better quality than a movie from say The Asylum, but there’s not much going for it other than that. If you’re not a fan of found footage movies, this one isn’t going to change your mind. If you are, just rewatch The Blair Witch Project instead of spending 82 minutes on this one.
While not an utter train-wreck, the lack of creativity means The Black Water Vampire earns a paltry one-and-a-half skulls (1.5/5). I’m hoping this isn’t an omen for the rest of the month’s viewing.
Dark Shadows Sidebar
Elizabeth Collins Stoddard lies abed in the nebulous state between the waking world and that of dreams. Her mind wanders, frantic to know the fate of her daughter Carolyn, who fled when she learned that her mother supposedly killed her father 18 years ago. The truth has come to light that Mr. Stoddard faked his own death, but Carolyn is unaware of this. Elizabeth, although now free of the guilt that left here chained to Collinwood for nearly two decades, cannot rest until she learns where Carolyn is.
Carolyn returns to the mansion after spending the night walking and thinking. Rousing her mother, she apologizes for fleeing, saying that she should have known that any act her mother did was to protect the family. Elizabeth is shocked that Carolyn feels the need to apologize to her and the two reconcile. Carolyn learns that her father may still be alive, out there somewhere, and that Jason McGuire has been given 24 hours to leave Collinsport or be arrested.
Speaking of McGuire, we return to the Old House where Jason has just broken in. As he searches for the jewels he knows are present, he’s discovered by Willie, who tries to convince McGuire to leave the house before Barnabas discovers him. Jason is not going to be dissuaded until he gets what he came for and strong-arms Willie into revealing the jewels are in the basement—along with Barnabas Collins. When Jason seems intent to venture down into the cellar to get the jewels, a desperate Willie tries to dissuade him, going so far as to reveal that Barnabas isn’t alive. “He’s dead, but he walks around at night,” Willie attempts to explain. McGuire refuses to be taken for a fool and heads downstairs to search for the jewels.
McGuire discovers Barnabas’ coffin in the basement as an increasingly frantic Willie tries to warn him of the danger he’s in. Willie produces a handful of jewels, stating they are extra pieces Barnabas wanted him to sell. “Take these and leave,” he begs McGuire, but McGuire wants all the jewels. Willie declares the remaining jewels are bricked up in the cellar wall and there’s no time to retrieve them before Barnabas discovers the two men. McGuire believes this to be another ploy to prevent him from finding the jewels and that they must be hidden in the coffin. He pries open the lid…and the icy-cold hand of Barnabas Collins latches around his throat as Act Four draws to a close!