Quebec filmmaker Renaud Gauthier got some notice with his 2013 debut Discopathe, a slasher about a killer triggered by disco music. Now he’s back with Aquaslash. This time it’s a water park and a high school senior outing is about to get very messy. Can he make a splash this time around? Or is he all washed up?
Aquaslash opens with the obligatory pre-credits killing of a pair of horny teens. We then jump ahead to the arrival of the Valley Hill High Class of 2018 at Wet Valley, a water park that’s seen better days. We are then treated to what seems more like a retro 80s sex comedy than a slasher. Car washes and water slides to make sure we have plenty of wet t-shirt shots. Loads of booze and drug use including, of course, doing lines off a girl’s chest.
And right here we have the problem with Aquaslash. There’s way too much Porky’s and not nearly enough Friday The 13th in the retro mix. We’re nearly 20 minutes in before a couple of drunken idiots have an accident and spill some blood. At around the half-hour mark, we see an unseen figure begin to sabotage the park’s slides and someone is shot to death off-screen. And that’s about it until the last fifteen minutes.
Now, to be fair, the last fifteen minutes pull out the stops. There’s some seriously nasty shit going down in the final act courtesy of Blood Brothers FX who’ve worked on Les Affamés, Turbo Kid and We Summon The Darkness among other films. The idea of blades hidden in water slides is the kind of innovation the genre needs and they pull it off nicely. It’s a pity Gauthier wastes it.
Because we shouldn’t have to wait until the end of the film for it. Especially when that means wading through a plot that revolves around a romantic triangle between Tommy ( Paul Zinno), Kim (Lanisa Dawn) and Josh (Nicolas Fontaine). Josh’s dysfunctional relationship with his father (Howard Rosenstein) who is sleeping with the park owner’s wife. And He’s banging one of the lifeguards. This would make a great setup for a slasher. But it shouldn’t take up the whole film.
Despite being shot in Quebec, Aquaslash is full of US flags and licence plates. And I think this is one time Canada will be happy to let people think they are watching an American film.