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[Review]: Blackwater Lane

Horror/thriller Blackwater Lane directed by Jeff Celentano and written by Elizabeth Fowler is a crime-mystery-by-numbers exploring the darkness that seeps into small town life and seemingly ideal relationships. Starring Minka Kelly as Cass, a teacher who resides in a small town in England with her husband Matthew (Dermot Mulroney) who, after driving home from a work party on a particularly stormy night, witnesses a woman stranded along the roadside who we later learn is a murder victim. Supported by her best friend Rachel (Maggie Grace), Cass is thrust into the middle of the murder investigation and experiences mysterious goings-on which, through the darkness, shines a light on her life and relationships.

Adapted from a novel The Breakdown by B.A Paris, the film Blackwater Lane opens in as confusing and pointless a manner as it intends to proceed. Protagonist Cass narrates how her favourite season is autumn due to its changing state, yet the film continues to set itself during the start of British summer. As she says goodbye to her end of year class and attempts to avoid the over-enthusiastic attention of a student, Cass proceeds to completely ignore and fail to report the woman stranded in her car on a back road in the middle of a particularly nasty storm. Soon the tropey “strange occurrences” begin, with unexplained phone calls, bumps in the night, and of course, the gaslighting husband, setting the film up to be a possible What Lies Beneath (2000) ode. 

With clunky dialogue and a weak narrative, Blackwater Lane never really elevates itself any higher than a made-for television pulp novel adaptation that includes several points of contention which immediately takes audiences out of a place of believability. The problem with Blackwater Lane is in how it treats its audience in its over-explanation of events which includes a concluding roundup narrated by main character Cass, as if we haven’t just sat through the film’s hour and 48 minutes run time.To state a stereotype, forget the film and just stick to the book.

1 Scream out of 5


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