"Black Waters" so bad it's bad

The Black Waters of Echo's Pond (2009)
91 min., rated R.

Sometimes you wonder how certain movies ever get a major theatrical release rather than just getting dumped on Blockbuster shelves. Then there are movies that should never have been greenlit. The Black Waters of Echo's Pond, a ho-hum slasher movie by way of Jumanji, is boring, horribly shot, and cheap-looking goat cheese, and try remembering that awkward title a day after you see it.

After a hokey 1920s-era, fog-shrouded archaeological dig in Turkey where a weird-looking board game, resided by the Pagan god Pan, is unearthed, cut to eight obnoxious (but pretty) young people partying on the same island, now owned by a crusty caretaker (executive-producing B-movie stalwart Robert Patrick). One of them stumbles, literally, onto the ancient game whose truth-or-dare-type questions unleash all sorts of bitterness, jealousness, and slaughtering on each other. They keep saying they don't want to play the game anymore, but do it anyway...and probably should've played Monopoly instead.

Director/co-writer Gabriel Bologna can't get the slashing to begin soon enough, but it's never a good sign when you don't care who lives and who dies. Familiar faces like Halloween child Danielle Harris, James Duval (Frank the Bunny from Donnie Darko), and Electra and Elise Avellan (Grindhouse's crazy Babysitter twins) show up.

Black Waters could have been a spoof since it's not scary in the least or even adequately gory, but doesn't even entertain or have camp value on the level of made-for-Syfy schlock. At least the token slut takes off her top for a minute for a gratuitous nudity check, and the dopey dialogue and bad acting do afford some unintentional snickering.

But let's not and say we did.

Grade: D -