Filmed in Argentina as LOS VILIDADOS (THE FORGOTTEN), WHAT THE WATERS LEFT BEHIND is the latest film from Luciano and Nicolás Onetti, the brothers who gave us the brilliant modern giallo FRANCESCA and A NIGHT OF HORROR: NIGHTMARE RADIO. Here they move into backwoods horror styles with an admitted tribute to THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE.
Epecuen was a thriving coastal community until it was destroyed by flooding. Now after the waters have receded a group of students are journeying there to shoot a documentary. Stopping at the obligatory creepy gas station they ignore the warnings and proceed to the remains of the city. When their van breaks down and they’re stranded overnight they find the ruins aren’t as deserted as they thought.
As I mentioned WHAT THE WATERS LEFT BEHIND is an admitted tribute to Tobe Hooper’s tale of the Sawyer clan. So it has a familiar feel to it from the start, though at least this time the connection is acknowledged. And while the elements are familiar, the Onetti’s put their own twist on a lot of it. The result is something that is familiar but at the same time different enough not to feel like a ripoff. In short the best kind of homage.
Unlike its inspiration, WHAT THE WATERS LEFT BEHIND doesn’t restrain itself when it comes to showing the blood and gore. There are several distinctly brutal doses of straight-up violence as well as a fairly nasty rape scene along the way. The effects are practical, although there may have been a bit of CGI blood in an early scene.
I should also mention the settings the film uses. Epecuen is a real place and the ruins of it make an incredibly creepy setting for the first part of the film. There are several drone shots that drive home the desolation and isolation that surrounds the characters. The meat packing plant where the last part of the film unfolds is a nasty, grim place. It reminded me of the dog food cannery from RAZORBACK, which is a good thing in my book.
While not quite the triumph that their previous film was, WHAT THE WATERS LEFT BEHIND is a solid and very satisfying trip into slasher territory. I’m anxiously awaiting their next film, ABRAKADABRA which is a return to giallos.
WHAT THE WATERS LEFT BEHIND is available from Terror Films.