Heading towards their destination, first the group interviews one of the detectives that originally investigated one of the murders. Then they stopped at the penitentiary upon which Raymond Banks (Bill Oberst Jr.), the criminal incarcerated for the murders, is serving his sentence. A sinister figure, with prominent scars on his face, he reveals that he became a scapegoat for the crimes, upon discovering what the villagers where really doing in the woods. Telling the group that he has been slowly poisoned throughout the years, in the hopes of dying faster – and he proves his claims by grabbing a portion of his hair, showing that is easily falling off his head – the convicted individual is mysteriously explicit and ambiguous at the same time, about the bizarre events that for so long had been unfolding in the darkness of the woods in Black Water.
Determined to go on in their search to find the truth, the group becomes lost in the woods. With the help of a map, they try to figure out where they really are, but rapidly the situation deteriorates, and discussions and misunderstandings broke out between them. Feeling something weird is going on, the sound engineer feels an urge to go back, but the cinematographer encourages him to accompany them further. Telling him that they have walked for almost one day and a half, it would not be easy for him to find his way out of the woods. He says that it’s better for all of them to stay together; soon, the documentary will be shot, and everything will be over in a matter of hours. If he starts to feel bad again, they will completely understand and approve his wish to go back. The sound engineer, upon insisting that he could easily find his way out of the woods, agrees to stay with the group.
But very soon, the situation goes bad again. The sound engineer walks away from the rest of the group, and becomes lost. Several hours pass by, but he doesn’t return. Soon afterwards, the other three are struck by despair, as the night falls, and they haven’t found their friend. The cinematographer and the two girls have a discussion about whether it’s better to search for him, or to set up the tent, sleep, and look out after him in the morning. They eventually chose the last option, which is safer, as they really don’t know what dangers may lurk in the dark, and literally their visibility will be severally compromised by the darkness, turning fruitless any attempt to search for their friend and collaborator in the night.
Walking until the day breaks, they eventually find their friend, the girl responsible for the movie project, completely naked and disoriented. She has a terrible bite mark on her neck, and seems to be in shock. The cinematographer puts out of his backpack several clothes for dressing her, and they rapidly try to go out of the woods. But as their friend reveals herself to be in a week and fragile condition, they fail to advance in a fast pace. To make matters worse, they wander completely lost and without any notion of their whereabouts, realizing that leaving the woods will be almost impossible. Soon, they realize that their friend, the girl that has been attacked by the creature, is not only week, but she is experiencing a strange sickness too. She says that she feels an unexplainable thing inside her, and on grabbing up her blouse, she shows up her belly, and is clearly possible to see something moving beneath her skin. In a rage of despair fuelled by his survival instinct, the cinematographer screams with the two girls, saying that he will leave them, but after just a few moments, he is surprised and killed by the mysterious creature, at broad daylight. The two girls, shocked by the killing, do their best trying to escape.
As the night falls again, they see the mysterious symbol – the one that appeared in the bodies of the four murdered girls, and that was also drawn at the entrance of their tent – drawn apparently in blood in several trees surrounding them. They manage to encounter a strange and ruined cabin, upon which they hide. But soon the creature locates them, and they are forced to leave the cabin. Soon the girls are outdoors, and they see a lot of the townsfolk people surrounding them, but their hostile faces make pretty obvious that their intention is not to help. The producer tries to escape, but is killed in the process. The only surviving member of the group, the girl attacked by the creature, is thrown in the floor by the group of stalkers, and they strongly hold her into the ground. She soon starts to scream, and appears to be giving birth, as one woman that was part of the group of deranged stalkers, off camera, seems to be doing the work of delivering the baby.
For a found footage film, Black Water Vampire is simply amazing. Doing the best to avoid and to escape the clichés of the genre, this is a serious work, with a truly genuine and unexpected cinematic feeling. One of the best movies of the genre that I have seen, Black Water Vampire is filled by an atrocious atmosphere of the unknown, that really captures, evaluates and explores the validity of a deep sense of undeniable anguish throughout its entire run. At first, as suggested by the title, you may think that this is just another boring and ordinary vampire movie. But we should never judge a movie by its title, the same way we should never judge a book by its cover. Black Water Vampire manages to be an intelligent mindset of unrestrained, embracing and sensible captivity of surreal – but exponentially realistic – horror. The movie slowly builds on its deleterious urge a sinister, malevolent, fearful and lucid atmosphere of agony and affliction, as you delve deeper and deeper into the mysterious secrecies of a forest that you soon perceive to be held by a hostile and malevolent force, that doesn’t want anybody to wander on its premises.
Although the overall center of the plot is simple, and the formula upon which the movie unfolds is typical of the found footage genre, the atmosphere upon which the story reveals itself relies on a sinister background that manages to be not just genuine, but authentic and functional, slowly increasing, and showcasing its potential, as the movie progresses. The fear generated by the danger that subtlety reveals itself within the story is exceptionally grotesque, and as the danger becomes more plausible and palpable, the agony becomes more evident, lacerating and hurtful, to the point that you almost see yourself as part of the story, wandering what could you do to possibly get out of the forest alive.
Evidently, Black Water Vampire is a lot similar to several other found footage films, in instances like structure, style and the unfolding of events. But here, you have a cohesive story, intelligent movie making devices, decent technical skills, a salutary and well-elaborated plot, and a coherent and credible acting, as well as a lot of other qualities. Nonetheless, they are inserted so subtlety, that if you’re not really paying attention to the movie, you will probably miss some of the details that, combined altogether, managed to make this movie superior from other movies of the genre. Although the story unfolds calmly, it has the ability of slowly involving you in a wider spectacle of affliction and apprehension, that becomes deeper and deeper as the movie progresses, to the point where you firmly believe that you don’t have any more the opportunity to escape.
Don’t get me wrong. You may not be surprised at all at first, but if you really see this movie, appreciating it in the calmness it deserves, you will positively be captured by the genuine atmosphere of horror that this film wonderfully creates, and more marvelously, liberates towards its audience.
As typical for the genre, the movie is shot by the perspective of their participants, with the four main actors taking turns in recording the images (although the actual scenes were obviously recorded by a professional cinematographer), so you mostly see only three of them at a time, and less, as they begin to disappear. Departing from the prerogative of an adventurous endeavor, they leave for their destination towards an atrocious fate, upon which there would be no return. An excellent movie, despite its simple premise and common ground rhetoric that at first seems to be equal to other movies of the genre, Black Water Vampire certainly can be regarded as one of the best found footage films ever made.