Plot: Elizabeth (Louise Salter) is a young woman who just lost her father and inherited his estate, with one catch. She must continue the payments he had been sending to a convent for years, since the death of her mother. As she was unaware of these payments, she is curious to uncover her father’s connection to the convent. The convent is on an island off a remote shore, but after some initial concerns, Elizabeth was able to find passage to the location. She has no idea of the island’s mysterious, perhaps even supernatural history, which involves some serious bloodshed. Once she arrives and explains her queries to the Mother Superior, she finds herself held at arm’s length and not given much useful information. But soon the truth slowly starts to unravel, as she begins to learn about both the convent’s sinister past and her own personal connection to the situation. What links this young woman to such a depraved, unsettling place and can she survive long enough to find out?
Entertainment Value: If you prefer your nunsploitation to have grand visual style, Dark Waters is the movie you want. This is a movie that is inspired by the Italian horror greats and emphasizes style over substance, but that doesn’t lower the entertainment value in the least. The story is a little overcrowded with dead ends and false leads, but Elizabeth’s search for the truth still works and holds up well. I loved all the religious threads, with rituals, heresies, and blasphemous moments in high doses. Of course, that is all bound to deeply offend some, but if you’re sensitive about religious content, why would you watch nunsploitation in the first place, right? While this isn’t as polished or blood drenched as some in the genre, it compensates with thick atmosphere and an unsettling overall texture. I have to think budget limits held back the scope of the visuals somewhat, but even so, the movie accomplishes a lot. But the final scenes…wow. The movie goes off the rails and delves into total madness. Beautiful. The cast is fine and the writing is interesting to be sure, but leaves some gaping holes at times. I don’t mind the plot issues though, as the movie is not focused on narrative as the core of the experience. Dark Waters is a haunting movie that has style to burn and a dark, eerie vibe that permeates every second of screen time. For fans of Italian horror and nunsploitation, Dark Waters is one you need in your collection.
Just one set of boobs covered by some prosthetic makeup, so no nakedness. Most of the movie has a decent amount of bloodshed, then things ramp up a lot during the final scenes. The violence is mostly non graphic, with some stabbings and bloodletting, but no over the top, visceral carnage. But as the film winds down, the movie ups the ante and gives us heavier flow of the red stuff, plus some wild makeup effects. I don’t want to spoil, but rest assured, it is magnificent and batshit crazy. The dialogue is fine, but not much in terms of memorable or wild lines to talk about. But on the craziness scale, Dark Waters more than delivers. The movie is a constant stream of dark, blasphemous content, from crucified nuns to burning crosses and beyond. This one is rich with that eerie, unsettling feel that you’re going to hell for watching, which a lot of movies try for and rarely accomplish. So the movie is always on the disturbing side throughout, then dives off the deep end toward the finale. The final scenes weave a bizarre, eye popping chain of events that skyrocket this movie into madness. Dark Waters is well crafted from the start, but holy shit, the finale puts it on another level.
Overall Insanity: 8/10