ELECTRICxWIZARD’s review published on Letterboxd:
Like if the greats of 80s Italian horror met with Jean Rollin in the 90s to craft a Lovecraftian nightmarescape of blasphemy, blood, fire and rain.
Tainted holy imagery splits up the silhouettes of the robed in front of vast spaces of imposing and impending doom. The nuns skulk through the convent island, down into the catacombs where skulls and bizarre blood artwork lines the walls and dastardly blades work their sadistic magic.
Dark Waters moves at a tectonic pace, plodding eerily through the chilling winds carrying the echos of the rain and screams through the stone walls. Blood drips down a statue of the crucifixion. Skulls shatter on the rocks, the waves taking the bloody evidence out into the vast nothingness of the ocean. The nuns drift through life like the incriminating blood, with a quiet sense of purposelessness. Going through the motions. Weathered and beaten down by the life they lead.
The mystery unfolds further, as Elizabeth tries to piece together the truth about the death that plagues her family, with the only link being the isolated convent. And as she meanders her way through Pagan rituals, amulets, raw meat savagery and strange ancient books with demonic illustrations, she begins to break down.
Then, the tectonic plate that the film rides on hits the one beside it, and causes an Earthquake of a final third, that shatters the dreamy atmosphere into a ramped up procession of murder, demons, disfigurement and the shocking truth.
Dark Waters is an excellent piece of largely overlooked neo-nunsploitation from one hit wonder Mariano Baino. Flashes of red, dull and depressive greys and the Rollinesque lingering on nothing to build an atmosphere as molasses is expertly crafted, and left me craving more Baino. The only negative I can really think of is the 90s feel of the score, which didn't really take anything away from the film, it just didn't add anything either.
I reckon I'm gonna be saying this a lot in the near future after my sale purchases came in, but fuck me, do I love Severin.