What the Waters Left Behind: Scars (2023) Review
What the Waters Left Behind: Scars returns us to the ruins of the city of Epecuén, the setting of 2017’s What the Waters Left Behind. This time out Nicolás Onetti (The 100 Candles Game, A Night of Horror: Nightmare Radio) directs without the help of his brother Luciano, who is still involved by way of providing the film’s score, and Camilo Zaffora (The Last Boy on Earth, Nightmare Radio: The Night Stalker) provides the script.
The film opens with a brief prologue in the Falkland Islands wherein a British officer learns a hard lesson about turning his back on the enemy. Even if they appear to be dead.
From there we join The Ravens, a band consisting of Billy Bob (Matías Desiderio, Palermo Hollywood, Shadow of the Cat), Jane (Clara Kovacic, Dark Web: Descent Into Hell, Demonio Eclipse Rojo), and Mark (Juan Pablo Bishel, Separadas), their manager Javi (Agustin Olcese, Uncanny Valley, The Red Book Ritual ) and Sophie (Eugenia Rigón, Abracadabra, The Devil’s Tail) who are finishing up their tour.
And it’s a good thing they’re about to play the last show of the run because life on the road has them all at each other’s throats. Billy Bob hooks up with a groupie named Carla (Magui Bravi, Goatling, The 100 Candles Game) who asks for a ride home afterward. She says her Uncle will give them some of his famous BBQ as a thank you. Of course, we know that an offer of BBQ in a remote location is a major red flag, but some folk have to learn the hard way.
If you’ve seen the original then you know it was basically The Argentinian Chainsaw Massacre right down to the suspiciously sourced meats. What the Waters Left Behind: Scars doesn’t stray too far from that formula either, and that’s its biggest problem. Rather than try something a bit different like the sequels to the film that inspired it, Onetti and Zaffora give the viewer something that feels like more of the same thing.
And if you liked the first film that might not be too bad, especially if you haven’t seen it since it came out and the details aren’t too fresh in your memory. Both are above average, mean-spirited slashers that wear their TCM influences, complete with the dinner scene, proudly. They also lay on a fair amount of torture sequences, and although What the Waters Left Behind: Scars isn’t quite as brutal or graphic as the first film it should deliver enough nastiness to keep fans happy.
The filmmakers do have one interesting new idea, even though it doesn’t entirely pan out, As the film goes on, the squabbling among the band members seems to become almost like a virus. It spreads to the cannibals and soon their at each other’s throats as well. It becomes a question of whether it’s an unexpected break for the captives or just something to add to the film’s already rather nihilistic tone.
As was the case with the first film, the real star of What the Waters Left Behind: Scars is Epecuén itself. It is a real place and spent thirty years submerged after a levee broke. It gives the proceeding an apocalyptic look you couldn’t recreate. Cinematographer Luciano Montes de Oca (Laura, Asylum: Twisted Horror and Fantasy Tales) and his camera make the most of the location and Yanel Castellano (La Forma del Bosque, The Last Boy on Earth) adds the creatures and bloodshed to complete the hellscape.
While it is derivative and not what would be considered essential viewing, fans with a strong stomach should find What the Waters Left Behind: Scars well worth their time. Just don’t plan on having BBQ afterwards.
Cleopatra Entertainment will release What the Waters Left Behind: Scars on July 18th to VOD Platforms and on Blu-ray and DVD. If you don’t want to leave the scares behind just yet, FilmTagger can suggest a few titles for you to watch.