@TigersMS78 reviews The Drownsman...
The Drownsman has all the elements of good horror films and at times puts them together with great effect but at other times it doesn’t quite mesh together. The film is a little bit Nightmare on Elm Street, The Cell and a paranormal flick rolled up in to one.
The story of The Drownsman – After almost drowning in a lake, Madison (Michelle Mylett) can’t escape her fear of water. Unable to describe what happened to her during the moments she was underwater, she has developed hydrophobia: an abnormal fear of water. Her friends try an intervention on her and things go very bad.
The Drownsman is a solidly made film and it looks decent, is directed very well by Chad Archibald (Neverlost) and has some nightmare fuel images throughout the film. The problem is that when the film has moments where it shines, it conversely has areas that are not so good.
The acting for the most part is solid, there a few instances in which the acting veers into daytime soap territory but given that isn’t all the way through the film it doesn’t become a distraction. The surreal/dreamscape scenes are definitely the best for all the actors involved, allowing some good physical acting whilst bringing with the sense of fear needed. Madison’s friends despite (in my opinion) being about as friendly as a bear trap, do get some decent lines as well but are only broadly outlined in terms of character development.
The writing is good overall, great in patches and poor in others and is inconsistent in certain parts of the film and could probably have done with another 10 minutes, as hell of a lot happens in the 3rd act, things that should really emotionally rock the characters but they are glossed over to quickly. I know audiences don’t want films to out stay their welcome but at 88 minutes, another 10 to flesh out some of the scenes (like the revelation of one the main characters past) certainly would have helped. I do like the fact that the film is very female centric, all the major parts with the exception of The Drownsman are all women which is a refreshing change in this type of film.
The film starts off with really brutal prologue and in some ways raises the expectations of the film somewhat unfairly. It is a terrific opening but one that doesn’t get bested throughout the film. I mentioned before that the imagery was great and it is – the use of water as a portal to the dream/surreal killer’s world is a great device and creates some really indelible images that are reminiscent of the original Nightmare on Elm Street. However it takes a while to get back to these kinds of scenes, which are the best of the film. The bogeyman of the story is a guy they call The Drownsman, it doesn’t take long to figure out why. The character is played by Ry Barrett (in some great makeup) who brings a hulking frame and has a real menacing presence needed to be the films big bad.
The Drownsman has plenty to offer the horror crowd, the effort put in by all involved shows through and despite some short comings is certainly worth checking out.
*The Drownsman will have its premiere at Fantasia Film Festival on August 2 2014.