Black Wake (2018) Horror Movie Review


Review (Spoiler Free)

“Black Wake” (2018) is a film that delves into the depths of the ocean and the unknown threats that lurk beneath its surface. Directed by Jeremiah Kipp, the movie presents a unique blend of horror, science fiction, and thriller elements, wrapped in a Lovecraftian atmosphere that promises to captivate fans of the genre.

The narrative unfolds around a series of mysterious deaths along the Atlantic Ocean’s beaches, leading to a top-secret investigation by a team of specialists. The plot thickens as Dr. Luiza Moreira, portrayed by Nana Gouvea, examines video evidence and begins to uncover a possible parasitic explanation for the fatalities. The involvement of Detective Michaels, played by Tom Sizemore, adds a layer of intensity to the storyline as he sends Dr. Moreira the ramblings of a homeless man, hinting at an ancient and far more dangerous threat.

“Black Wake” employs a mockumentary style, utilizing found footage to piece together the events, which allows the audience to experience the size and scope of the problem from multiple perspectives. This approach effectively addresses one of the common limitations of found footage films, which is often their confined settings. The film’s structure, which includes Dr. Moreira’s documentation of her findings, serves to engage viewers in the unfolding mystery, encouraging them to connect the dots alongside the protagonist.

As the story progresses, the film takes several twists, introducing elements such as tentacled sea creatures and zombies, yet it maintains a logical path that attentive viewers can follow. The final act sees Dr. Moreira’s sanity begin to fray, playing on the “unreliable narrator” trope and leaving the film without its central anchor, which amplifies the disorientation and impact of the concluding events.

The creature, which remains mostly hidden until the final moments, is effectively portrayed, as is the zombie makeup. While there are some issues with CGI blood and exploding heads, the film is not overly gory, which minimizes the impact of these problems. Director Kipp maximizes the use of makeup and minimal gore, and the strong supporting cast, including Vincent Pastore and Chuck Zito, enhances the film’s credibility.

Despite its strengths, “Black Wake” has faced criticism for a confusing script and poor editing, which some viewers feel hinders the film’s ability to take off. The Lovecraftian influence, while a draw for some, is seen by others as a gimmick that the story works backward from, leading to a narrative that can feel derivative and lacking in originality.

In the Nutshell

“Black Wake” is a film that offers an intriguing premise and a fresh take on the found footage genre. It is a movie that demands the viewer’s attention and participation to fully appreciate its complexity. While it may not hit the mark for everyone, for those willing to immerse themselves in its Lovecraftian depths, “Black Wake” is a film worth seeking out for its strange and engrossing journey into the unknown. [I give 4 out of 5 stars.]

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Genre: Sci-Fi Horror

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