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Black Water

Black Water (2007) –  This Australian movie, in the vein of The Reef and similar based-on-true-events predator movies like Open Water, should have had all the ingredients to grab hold of me and nail me to my seat. We have the small group of people, stranded in  a hostile environment devoid of other humans, with limited resources, and stalked by an extremely dangerous natural predator that calls up one of our deepest fears from the primal well (great white sharks, giant crocodiles, etc.) – in this respect, Black Water follows all the usual creature feature tropes of recent vogue.

And yet, I didn’t spend nearly as much time peeking cautiously at my TV from between my fingers and cowering in my chair as I did while watching The Reef.  Maybe because I find the open ocean more terrifying than watching people trapped in a tree in the mangrove swamps. Still, the movie delivers its share of tense moments, and the giant saltwater crocodile is quite menacing, in part because you don’t get to see very much of it. This is a recommended watch if you like realistic creature features. Although it could have been improved with the addition of a flame thrower, perhaps.

The Reef

Unlike the ScyFy creature feature shark movies with effects so bad that they completely fail to scare you, The Reef, (Australia, 2010) brings the tension. Or maybe you don’t fear the wide open empty waters. The waters that are just murky enough to hide the very big, very effective predator. Great white shark, anyone? Care to share the water? Ideally while looking a bit like a seal, and definitely without weapons. In fact, in this scenario, you are like the seal except with less underwater vision, not nearly the speed, and massively  reduced agility. The Reef is based on a true story, a fact that did not help me get to sleep after watching it. Pro tip: do not watch this right before planning on going to sleep, because you won’t. Sleep, that is. Continue reading

Under My Skin

I had a post all lined up about Friday’s soul-thawing flirt with spring weather, the endless clear blue sky, so high that you could finally stop slouching under winter’s cast-iron 5-foot ceiling and stand up straight with a sigh of relief. The birds heralding the changing season, fat sparrows frolicking in the bare but budding branches, gigantic robins, red breast puffed, hunting grubs or worms or new life. Berries bursting red from under the season-spanning dark greens of bushes that love both winter and spring – all those lovely things you notice on the first day of real sunshine when hope breaks though at last and you feel winter might end (never mind that it almost didn’t really start this time around). Continue reading