Christopher Schrack's "Backwater" is survival, vacation horror with a twist. The film stars Thomas Daniel, Andrew Roth, Justin Tully, Liana Werner-Gray in a road trip styled thriller that turns urban legend into a motive for retribution. The story starts with a simplistic story arc that soon develops a complexity and depth that I wasn't expecting, and was glad to see.
Synopsis: Cass and Mark are a couple on a camping trip to the distant countryside. When their seemingly secluded getaway is interrupted by an ominous scream, they start to think someone might be stalking them, and encounter two strangers who are also in the woods near them. Despite everything appearing to be harmless, they can't shake the feeling that something is wrong. The truth, however, is far more disturbing than meets the eye.
"Backwater" begins a tradition 'vacationers in the wrong part of the wilderness' concept that creates a comfortable familiarity. Schrack starts out with two people just enjoying some time alone in the woods, camping and sexing. At first this feels somewhat redundant and the story moves a bit slow. However this is all calculated because by 35 minutes into "Backwater" it becomes clear that the story is far more than it appears. Which is good because the pace picks up, the characters become interesting, and the horror really kicks in. Acting, directing, cinematography and story is all well comprised of eerie, chilling, and tense aspects that create a nice story arc, and vision.
"Backwater" does give some classic grindhouse, indie style gore and horror which is all done mostly with practical effects. It never gets really into the visceral shock realm of the horrors, staying on the milder, but bloody side of the thriller genre. Still there is some good, and gory moments that hit hard, and entertain. The soundtrack, music is traditional 'backwater' horror sounds that work nice in this film, but don't really offer anything that hasn't been heard before. Still it is all packaged within "Backwater" nicely so no real complaints here. The twist and the darker antagonists as a sort 'implement of retribution' creates the real nightmare of this fusion of campfire horror and urban legend.
Overall "Backwater" is a nice, middle of the road horror that is worth watching. The start is slow but it quickly picks up and turns the story in on itself a bit. It is clever, and once the true nightmare kicks in the pace quickens, and the adrenaline increases. And Christopher Schack keeps this story more horror than psychological thriller similar to films like the cult classic "Long Weekend". I enjoyed "Backwater" because I didn't expect that twist that came about in the story, and it never really loses energy. I did hate that the violence and horror elements weren't more graphic and visceral but the film is still a pretty tight thriller.