Horror movies are not known for having believable acting or clever dialogue, but the inability to portray believable characters tends to be distracted by the threat of death that usually dispatches of the bad actors one-by-one. The acting may not be worse than usual in The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond, but with a storyline that essentially has the audience watching a board game being played there is little else to focus on. The Academy Awards have debated the inclusion of Best Casting Director into their awards for years, although The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond makes a far better case for the inclusion of such an award at the Razzies.
The seemingly simple premise of The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond is actually just a lack of content. Horror movies with casting and dialogue as awful as this one should not take nearly so long to get to the action. A group of friends with a variety of annoying melodrama get together for a cabin-in-the-woods type of weekend, resulting in an inevitable struggle for survival. What makes this film barely unique is a board game that the friends find in the home. It essentially turns into a game of truth or dare, although the game board and cards seem to have a supernatural ability when it comes to the tasks and questions given. The construction of the game itself is quite comical, and one of the saddest aspects of the film’s production design. I could actually see the metallic glitter pen used to try and make the cards look old and creepy, though it did not achieve the desired effect.
Casting director Corbin Bronson has collected a number of actors that have been consistently bad through their careers, type casting bad actors from horror movies to be bad actors in a lower budget horror movie. This mentality is common in
, though all it
has done is recycle generically bad actors merely for being recognizable. For
instance, Danielle Harris has clearly been included in the cast merely for her
role in the Hatchet franchise, which
she only got from her role in Rob Zombie’s arrogant Halloween revival. She was bad in those films and is worse here,
but seems content to force every role into the same angry scream queen joke.
James Duval is also included as the unfairly judged black sheep of the group.
Duval is best known for playing Frank the rabbit in Donnie Darko, and it seems no accident that the rabbit imagery in
this film, including the board game player pieces, look remarkably similar to
the costume design of Duval’s previous role. Hollywood
These are obnoxious casting choices, but not even the worst. The film’s most horrendously, offensively, nauseatingly bad acting comes from two actors who have made a career out of being twins willing to undress together. They were the babysitter twins in Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse double-feature, and then returned as twin nurses in the Machete franchise. They may fit into the exploitation world under the novelty of twins in cliché fantasy roles, but their chance to act in this film is one which should have never been given to them. Neither one can act, and I can’t imagine that either has a career without one twin dressing up in a matching Halloween costume beside the other.
There are some horror elements of this film which distract slightly from the terrible acting and uninspired screenplay, but it is too little and far too late. The filmmakers should have realized first and foremost that watching a group of characters play a board game is not compelling cinema. The Blu-ray special features include an alternate opening.
Entertainment Value: 3/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 3/10
Historical Significance: 0/10
Disc Features: 2/10