Saturday, February 26, 2011

Horror Film Review

Waterborne (2005):  The bio-hazard symbol evokes all manner of emotions, chief of which is fear, so it's exactly what you may expect to see on the poster of a horror movie.  The problem is, Waterborne isn't a horror movie.  Well, not in the traditional sense, anyway. 

Someone, we assume terrorists, has contaminated the water supply in Los Angeles.  A few people die and then folks are told to avoid everything from drinking it to bathing in it to even running through a sprinkler.  But this is one of those movies that focuses on how the crisis affects the lives a handful of residents.  There are three storylines that wend around each other and finally merge for a rather sad climax. 

This isn't a zombie flick or even a typical disaster movie.  They catch the bad guy within days, L.A. is spared, and life goes on.  Well, for the most part.  You'll recognize Christopher Masterson (playing Zach) from Malcolm in the Middle.  He's a college student who, with his stoner cousin Bodi (Jake Muxworthy), is trying to get out of town.  John Gries you'll recognize but won't know from where.  He's a great character actor (I remembered him as Ben Linus' father in Lost) who plays Ritter, a husband and father serving in the National Guard.  The third storyline follows Vikrim Bhatti (played by Ajay Naidu), an American-Sikh who's mother runs a small grocery store and disapproves of his girlfriend, Lillian (a very, very white girl). 

This film explores the human condition in the face of an unthinkable calamity.  What would you do?  How would you react if the most important necessity to survival was suddenly ripped away?  And perhaps more interestingly, how would you treat your fellow man?  I found Waterborne to be starkly realistic and disturbing.  It's not a horror movie, but in many ways, it's still scary as hell.


Acting:  Excellent.  Not a bad apple in the bunch. 
Story:  Unique, modern, morality tale cloaked in the guise of apocalyptical terrorism. 
Direction:  Bouncing among the three storylines could have been a disaster in itself.  Ben Rekhi, however, helmed this movie with a deft touch. 
Production Values:  You can definitely tell there was a curtailed budget.  It doesn't affect the story or cause distraction, though, so it's a moot issue. 
Gore/FX:  This one's easy...nope.  Character-driven flick, remember? 
Ending:  It was fine.  "Tidy" is a better word, I think.  No loose ends, no reason for me to throw my shoe at the screen, which is a refreshing change. 
Verdict:  Should you see Waterborne?  If you know going in that it's not a horror flick (I didn't) and are a fan of dramas, sure.  It's a good story that's well-acted and holds your interest.  If you're looking for horror and only a gore-saturated splatter-fest will do, you should probably pass. 

My Rating:  3 out of 5

I will be watching Machete later tonight.  Another movie that's not horror.  I did catch a bizarre Satan-worship horror flick on one of the movie channels last night.  Maybe I'll review that instead.


  1. Hi -

    You continue to tax my brain...and I love it.
    Can't remember the last time I saw the word "wend". As always, great review!

  2. Thanks. I appreciate the feedback and am happy to oblige. Imagine...someone who enjoys being taxed!

  3. :~)

    (not quite sure where "be be309074-4292-11e0-893d-000bcdcb2996" came from but...)