From The Blair Witch Project to The Last Broadcast, a precedent has been set for the faux documentary sub-genre. We know what to expect and we know what we’re in for from the jump, so, all that can be done is tell the story in a new way. Evan Tramel’s Black Water Vampire may seem familiar to a fan of either of the aforementioned films, but with a twist in the last act. Is it worth your time? That really depends on you.
Danielle (Danielle Lozeau) is a bleeding heart that is usually on a mission to save one endangered thing after the other. Having grown up in the Black Water area, she is quite familiar with the murders that have been taking place over the past 40 years. Every decade, at the end of the winter solstice, a young woman has been found murdered and drained of blood. She is marked and bitten, found in the woods. A man named Raymond Banks (Bill Oberst Jr.) has been convicted and sentenced to die, but Danielle, feeling that his confession was coerced, sets out to find what really happened out there. She gets a couple of friends together, Andrea (Andrea Monier) and Rob (Robin Steffen) to head out with her, as well as hiring camera man Anthony (Anthony Fanelli).
They stop off in the town at the edge of the woods for interviews and stories run rampant. Some describe a man, other a creature…a vampire batman! None of this really sits well with Rob, but they are committed, and begin their three-day hike to the scene of the crime. This is where things get crazy. Soon, they find out that they are being stalked by something in the woods, something that may or may not be human. As they get further and further in, their maps and equipment become less and less useful. They are lost but something out there knows exactly where they are.
Black Water Vampire is problematic. It is decent enough not to simply write off, but it is so blatant in its inspiration, that it could be considered a flat-out remake. There are a couple of surprises throughout, and a couple of neat effects, which are a plus.
The one thing that helps is that the leads are effectively believable. Danielle Lozeau is very authentic as the crusading leader of the group, strong in all her convictions even though they may seem unpopular. The same goes for Anthony Fanelli as the camera man. He makes a decision once things really kick in that is the most honest thing I’ve seen in a found footage film in a while. I appreciated that and to tell the truth, I might do the same thing if I were in his shoes.
Black Water Vampire weaves in some interesting elements and decent performances but in the end, it is a beat for beat remake of The Blair Witch Project with a little The Last Exorcism sprinkled in at the end. The biggest departure is that the film actually has a visual payoff, which for some may be the deciding factor. It’s not really a question of whether the film is bad or good, but a question of what you need as a payoff. Many people made their judgment of Blair Witch based on the fact that NOTHING is seen. So, like I said, this film’s merit depends on your personal taste.
I've seen all I need to see.