A Slasher film

Amos Lassen

The devastation of the town of Epecuen was even worse than the hardest hit areas that were hit during Hurricane Katrina. The former tourist city on Argentina’s coast was wiped out and it will never come back.

Vasco, his hired crew, and his faithless girlfriend Vicky drive to Epecuen to make a documentary. Their star will be Carla, who is revisiting the site of the disaster that she had barely survived as a child. The group should have turned back when they saw the rustic yokels at the last-chance gas station but they didn’t. Naturally the locals proceed to kill them off brutally \ Then there is one outsider, Senor X,” who is looking for a missing loved one.

Luciano and Nicholas, the Onetti Brothers’ entry into the slasher sub-genre has only location that makes it worthwhile. The Epecuen backdrops are haunting and also exploitative and it is the scene of a massive tragedy.The slasher violence is so cruel making it really impossible to enjoy the film. It is just too much in dubious taste. Nonetheless, it is technically impressive, especially the work of cinematographer Facundo Nuble, who beautifully captures the s landscape with a washed color palate.

The film is full of horror tropes from a freaky gas station to a cannibal family and the film begins and ends with these. In the opening scene, a nearly naked young woman is chased by an off-screen villain. A number of horror movies have opened this way. This is followed by a group of partiers on a road trip, to some remote town. The locations often serve as a reminder that the characters are leaving civilization (urban) for the rural. Horror usually happens on the border of nature and civilization and “What the Waters Left Behind” follows a horror formula and rarely steps outside a connect-the-dots. Carla relives some of the horrifying moments when her town was flooded. She lost several brothers, but hopes to make new friends, through the filmmaking process and inevitable cannibal dinner. At Epecuen, there is another, minor character – searching for a lost family member. He teams up with these documentarians, when the villains appear. From here on out, everything takes place in a slaughterhouse. These later sights must be seen.

The real life location was destroyed by flooding and looks truly apocalyptic. The brothers utilize a drone, to show the audience the true devastation. The Onettis also show a picturesque sunset, just before the action reaches its climax. Late scenes, inside the slaughterhouse are just as impressive and terrifying. The walls drip blood and so do many of the characters. This film shows a number of interesting sets and locations, which are often visually good.

Still, this is very much a remake of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” which The brothers admit. All of the villains are cannibals, ready to eat their new guests. The Onetti brothers have not really improved on this earlier material aside from some of the locations. The film does not have as many surprises as it could. Yet it is not easily forgotten in that it brings an Argentinian flavor to the slasher film, which  I am quite sure will satisfy many horror fans.