Jeremiah Kipp (Director), Carlos Keyes (Exec Producer), David Gere (Co-Producer), and Jerry Janda (writer) have breathed new life into the “found footage” phenomenon with their new horror film Black Wake. A mysterious “sickness” seems to have taken hold on the inhabitants of a coastal area on the Atlantic seaboard. While professionals struggle to find the origin of this devastating plague, Dr. Luiza Moreira (played by Nana Gouvea) seems to be the only one putting the pieces of this Lovecraftian puzzle together.
I have to admit that I had to watch this a couple of times to truly appreciate the film. It is a slow-burner, but give it a chance. It does get better as the story progresses. I am not a huge fan of “found footage” films, but this one was well done. The creature responsible for the carnage looks to me like a version of Cthulhu, and it isn’t cheesy! We get a first glimpse of the threatening presence in the beach waters as the film opens, but it isn’t until the end that we see the full beauty of the creature (which, again, was really cool).
There are people’s heads are exploding all over, with others becoming mind-controlled zombie-like shells. I say zombie-like because the “creature” is using parasites to control its minions throughout the film. This was a nice twist, as I was expecting the mindless, brain-eating usual suspects, which would have been a huge disappointment. It is only until we meet Tommy (played by Jonny Beauchamp) that we realize there is a much more sinister side to this takeover. Beauchamp does an amazing job in his role, I must say! He truly brings the character to life…in a manner of speaking.
As Dr. Moreira gets closer to the truth, her true role in this madness is slowly revealed. Gouvea does a terrific job at transforming into her role as the creature’s “Messiah”. I had to get past her slow form of speaking, but towards the end, you realize that it really does fit the movie. After my second viewing, I also realized that it actually lent to the seriousness of the situation that she was trying to relay in her video logs. At the beginning of the film, we get the impression that Dr. Moreira was called in under ulterior motives to study these “zombie” cases, and her transition through the movie was perfectly executed. The officials in charge of investigating this epic event know that she has a direct link to it. As she gains her memory back, she too learns of her important part of this mystery.
While this was a slow starting movie, the plot was well carried out and the effects were impressive. My favorite part, however, was getting to see Eric Roberts as Dr. Frank. I have a soft spot for Roberts. While many “found footage” films tend to make one dizzy or really detract from what could have been a great flick, Black wake does none of these. I suggest that if you get a chance to watch Black Wake, you absolutely should….and not just for Eric Roberts.