By Dakota Cantwell
“Black Wake” gives viewers at what can be done with a low budget film trying to fit in with the Sy-Fy channel movies of the early 2000s. The results are a film with little direction that takes two hours to tell a story that only gets interesting as it ends.
“Black Wake” is a found footage film that is expected to blend the genres of action, horror and science fiction, but leaves viewers with an understanding as murky as the monster found in it.
According to the movie’s website “Specialists gather in a top-secret facility to investigate a series of strange deaths on beaches along the Atlantic Ocean. One of the team’s scientists (Nana Gouvea) examines video evidence to uncover a possible parasitic explanation for the fatalities. But when a determined detective (Tom Sizemore) sends her the crazed writings of a mysterious homeless man (Jonny Beauchamp), the scientist slowly learns that the actual threat may be more dangerous — and far older — than anyone ever imagined. Can she convince her colleagues (led by Eric Roberts) of the true danger before an ancient force rises from the sea to bring madness and death to all of humanity?”
With a B-Horror cast like Eric Roberts and Jonny Beauchamp, the film had the potential to find the footing for a good low-budget film. Jonny Beauchamp (“Nerve”) gave a surprisingly strong performance as the mastermind, crazy homeless man. Eric Roberts controlled the scene whenever he was on screen, often improving the acting abilities of those working with him. Still, despite their best efforts, the cast, including Nana Gouvea who’s performance was rough but solid, could not help the film get past its poorly developed story and cheesily written script.
All of the movie is filmed in a found footage style, giving a decent recent for much of the lacking cinematography. However, the color palette switched quickly between poorly constructed glasses cameras and the occasional good shot, thus adding to the ever growing confusion for the audience as to why the movie is still playing.
The shadow organization watching over Gouvea’s character as she stumbles her way through the story is lacking in development. While their intentions are made clear that they intent to weaponize whatever creature it is infecting the populus, they switch back and forth between the Bureau and the CIA more time than can be counted.
As the film draws to a close everything seems to begin to clear up, including the purpose of the film, the cinematography and even a glimmer of hope that the film will pay off. Unfortunately all of this is put down quickly as the film ends only a couple of minutes after everything begins to become worth the viewers while.
“Black Wake” is an interesting concept that never develops enough to maintain the viewer’s interests. Instead, the film leaves viewers watching the clock as the film drags out a mystery that never really pays off.