Friday, 31 March 2023

The Outwaters (2023)

"Hit or Miss Found Footage Horror"

Writer-director-cinematographer-editor-star Robbie Banfitch's decidedly auteurist low budget found footage horror is getting a UK cinema release from Blue Finch. It's a film that's divided opinion, with many reviews filled with breathless praise. Here is one that isn't.

Four thirty-something individuals with little appeal or character head into the Los Angeles desert to film a music video. Eventually. After an awful lot of the running time being taken up by very little happening. Indeed, if you plan to watch this at the cinema don't worry if you are half an hour late as you won't have missed anything. There's also the question of who is going to film the video as nobody seems able to hold a camera even slightly steady for more than a few seconds.

Once they are out in the desert, they wander about a bit and meet some mules. Then something horrible happens to them. I won't say what, and usually this would be to avoid spoilers. In this case it's because I have no idea what was going on. This continues for the next hour or so of footage which has been described by some as 'an assault on the senses' but which I would prefer to describe as interminable.

There's enough going on in THE OUTWATERS to make a good, unnerving short subject, but with the material here steamrollered out to 110 minutes it becomes genuinely unendurable, and not in the 'extreme cinema' way its maker intends. On the basis of the trailer I really wanted to like it but when the most interesting thing on the screen for long periods is the distributor's security watermark it's never a good sign. You may love it. You may not. But now you have been warned. Here's the trailer:

Robbie Banfitch's THE OUTWATERS is out in UK cinemas on Friday 7th April 2023 and on Digital on Monday 8th May 2023 

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