While I’d certainly heard a lot about Dark Waters (aka; Dead Waters), I’d never had the chance to see Mariano Baino’s paean to the glory days of Italian horror cinema until the special edition from NoShame landed in my lap a short while ago. Now that I’ve seen it, I can certainly say that this is a film that nails the look and feel of the classics of the genre, even if it comes up a bit short in terms of story.
After the death of her adoptive father, Elizabeth (Salter) ventures to a remote monastery in the Black Sea. It seems that her father had been financing the place for years, but Elizabeth had only just found out about it, and is curious to see what it is about the place that her father held so dear. When she arrives, Elizabeth is essentially imprisoned by the Mother Superior, and the assorted crazies who populate the barren island. She also begins to have terrifying dreams that may hold the answers to her own mysterious past, as well as the closely guarded secrets of the monastery, itself.
Baino’s gorgeously shot film lies, stylistically, somewhere between the gothic oppressiveness of early Bava, and the Vaseline-smeared lens look of late 80’s Lucio Fulci. While not quite as refined as the former (or as slapdash as the latter) Baino’s first feature film is truly a feast for the eyes. The somewhat slow-moving story takes a backseat to atmospheric visuals and impressive camera acrobatics that lend this British/Russian (nope, it’s not Italian!) production a nightmarish quality that will certainly please fans of the genre Baino's paying homage to, but may confuse neophytes, especially those looking for standard nunsploitation ( I still lose sleep at night over the fact that this is a word I find myself using fairly regularly. I am, most certainly, going to hell).
NoShame, once again, proves they have no equal in the industry when it comes to crafting a truly special edition DVD. This time, they’ve downright outdone themselves, offering up Dark Waters in a terrific, feature-packed 2-disc special edition that outshines just about anything that’s come across my desk this year. The supplemental material includes a feature-length commentary by Baino and NoShame Films producer Michele De Angelis (as well as a humorous introduction in which Baino sort of explains where he’s been), a making-of/retrospective featurette, deleted scenes, and an art/photo gallery. And that’s just disc one! The second disc features three of Baino’s short films, each with commentary, a making-of featurette focusing on his short NEVER EVER AFTER, and even more photo/art galleries. This is all lovingly packaged in an oversized box that contains both a 48-page color booklet, and a mini-replica of the stone amulet featured in the film! It’s a fan’s dream, and other companies should certainly take note of what a true collector’s edition DVD set should look like.
Fans of Dark Waters should most certainly rejoice, as the definitive edition of this modern cult-classic has arrived, and, thanks to NoShame’s fanatical dedication and attention to detail, it has arrived in style.