Movie Review: 'The Outwaters' is Disturbingly Unforgettable
The Outwaters belongs in the pantheon of hard to watch horror movies, gross, bloody and shocking.
The Outwaters (2023)
Directed by Robbie Banfitch
Written by Robbie Banfitch
Starring Robbie Banfitch, Angela Basolis, Scott Schamell
Release Date February 9th, 2023
Published February 8th, 2023
An opening series of cards tell us that a group of young people went missing on August 8th, 2017. We know this date because that was the date that one of these young people made a terrifying 911 call. Five years later, footage from memory cards found with a digital camera is found and that's what constitutes the entirety of The Outwaters, a found footage horror movie written and directed by and starring, Robbie Banfitch.
The Outwaters recalls shockers such as Cannibal Holocaust or Martyrs in its dedication to being stunning. It's truly a movie you cannot prepare yourself for. You think you are ready; you think you know how to handle grisly movies and then you watch The Outwaters and your faith in your experiences as a moviegoer are shaken. I'm someone who has watched and reviewed movies online and in podcast format for two decades. I've seen more than my share of shockers and The Outwaters still shook me.
I really don't know where to go with this review. The plot of the film is superfluous, intentionally so. It's a hanger, it's a prompt, a motivation used to plant four characters where they need to be in order to enact unimaginable horrors upon them. That's not a criticism, that's just the reality of what The Outwaters is. I find this film dreadfully effective even as I fully understand that there will be many who look at this film and can make no sense of it and dismiss it as exploitation or violent trash.
I understand where you are coming from if you come away from The Outwaters with that feeling. I was leaning that direction for much of the movie. I honestly couldn't make out much of the middle portion of the movie. There are flashes of light here and there, swaths of bright red blood spread across barren desert floor, and strange looking creatures that crawl around on the ground. That said, so much happens in the dark that I could not tell you if we are dealing with aliens, demons, or a drug crazed violent rampage.
The found footage aspect is not one that you should spend time lingering on as it raises too many unanswered questions. One that will plague the more logical filmgoers is who exactly was taking the time to change the memory card in the camera as all of the violent chaos is unfolding. Then again, you could ask of any found footage movie why people would keep a camera rolling while a horror movie plot is unfolding in their real life. Look, you're going to have to just go with it.
The Outwaters is so effective not because of the found footage genre, but because of the sick twisted and incredibly cinematic imagination of Robbie Banfitch. If you want to get caught up in the details, whether its plot or the nature of found footage, this may not be the movie for you. For me, it's the experience that I cannot shake. The experience of The Outwaters is the point of the movie, it's what The Outwaters is all about, an experience that acts upon you in a visceral fashion.
A few years on and hundreds of movies later, I can appreciate a movie like The Outwaters for simply having an emotional and visceral effect on me. Regardless of the details, regardless of the confusion and chaos of the second act, The Outwaters acted upon me, it made me ill, it made me feel things I am not soon going to forget. I could dismiss it as just shock, but I am not going to. The final 10 minutes are some of the most stunning and terrifying things I've seen in a movie.
The Outwaters is a true stunner. A gross, horrifying, violent and bloody film that, if seen in a movie theater, will leave many wishing they hadn't seen what they see. It's a twisted movie made by a cinematic madman who is out to drive audiences out of the theater forever changed by what they have seen. He accomplishes his aim with some of the most striking and sickening images in any movie I've had the chance to see.
Find my archive of more than 20 years and nearly 2000 movie reviews at SeanattheMovies.blogspot.com. Find my modern review archive on my Vocal Profle, linked here. Follow me on Twitter at PodcastSean. Follow the archive blog on Twitter at SeanattheMovies. Listen to me talk about movies on the Everyone's a Critic Movie Review Podcast. If you appreciate what you have read, consider subscribing to my writing here on Vocal. If you'd like to support my writing, you can do so by making a monthly pledge or by leaving a one-time tip. Thanks!
About the Creator
Hello, my name is Sean Patrick He/Him, and I am a film critic and podcast host for Everyone's a Critic Movie Review Podcast. I am a voting member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the group behind the annual Critics Choice Awards.
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