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Dark Waters (1993) - Blu-ray Review

5 beers

If the symbolism in this independent horror film doesn’t stitch the fear of the Goddess right onto your supple flesh then there’s little hope for the everlasting soul that your skin shields. Dark Waters is intense.  The art-house horror in this Nunsploitation masterpiece about a demon on the rise will grab you from your sofa and drag you 




There, I said it.  Someone had to.  Even I, a devout atheist who attends to NO service but his own three times a week, started questioning my own judgment when the crucified nun deep in the catacombs began gnashing her yellow teeth.  And then she screams a depraved and haunting shriek.  Goddamn it.  I’m out.

Dark Waters is every bit a H.P. Lovecraft-inspired tale.  While it is, ultimately, about a young woman discovering a very disturbing truth about her mysterious upbringing, the film's surroundings are straight up Lovecraftian.  It is also a beautifully-shot film, filling the screen with enough religious imagery to haunt the halls of several monasteries for decades to come.  The stark landscape is ideal for its particular brand of vestal lunacy.  Beaches are loaded with dead fish.  The nuns burn torches and crosses and, down deep below in the twisting catacombs, they do some really strange shit.  And most of it involves a beastie better left unnamed.

Cthulu, is that you?

Filmed in the Ukraine right after the fall of the Soviet Union, director Mariano Baino’s water-soaked film begins with – as most biblical things do – a massive flood.  The water creaks through the doors of the monastery and a priest – taken aback by the force of the waves pummeling him – finds himself face to face with a huge cross in the black waters.  It is a wonderfully disturbing moment in which a submerged cross becomes an object of impalement.  Ouch.

Ratcheting up the creep factor in Dark Waters is the cinematography from Alex Howe, which is pronounced, prolonged, and effective in creating a strange and unsettling aura that covers this film from cowl to tunic.  From beginning to end, the spell that is cast is one that transfixes.  Even the murders – with nuns sneaking up on their victims from deep shadows – create a sense of dread.  The holiest among us doing the most unholy with whatever jagged blade is nearby?  Yes, please! 

Written by Baino and Andy Bark, the dialogue in this demon seed is sparse but effective as a young English woman (Louise Salter, Interview with the Vampire) goes to a mysterious island to investigate a monastery that her recently deceased father has been sending large amounts of money to.  We get just enough information to keep us involved, but the mystery unravels in a visual manner that is both rich in stylish metaphor and languid.  Those of you expecting jump scares best bail on this one from the very beginning.  You will be in tears near the end, if you even make it that far.

Dark Waters, now on blu-ray thanks to Severin Films, is a throwback to the pace and the feel of all the horror titles released during the peak of Italian cinema.  Its surreal flavors are punctuated by the drip-drip-drip of the water constantly battling the monestary and the surrounding shore.

Dark Waters, newly transferred in HD from the original 35mm negative, has finally washed ashore. A word to the wise?  Get thee to a nunnery. 


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Dark Waters (1993) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 98 mins
Director: Mariano Baino
Writer: Mariano Baino, Andy Bark
Cast: Louise Salter, Venera Simmons, Mariya Kapnist
Genre: Horror
Tagline: Sometimes, evil lurks where you least expect it.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Those who are blind, shall see the true face of the beast and forver suffer for it in their soul."
Official Site: https://severin-films.com/shop/dark-waters-blu-ray-plus-pin/
Release Date: 
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: April 11, 2017
Synopsis: When a young Englishwoman attempts to discover her mysterious connection to a remote island convent, she will unlock an unholy communion of torment, blasphemy and graphic demonic depravity.


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Dark Waters (1993) - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Severin Films
Available on Blu-ray
- April 11, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English
English: Dolby Digital 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Region A

Severin Films continues to prepare for the upcoming Easter weekend with their long-awaited release of Dark Waters.  The 1080p transfer (from the original 35mm negatives) is a stunning reminder of the stark beauty in this horror film.  The details are crisp in the monestary and the shadows are deep.  The catacombs sequences – once entirely too dark – are now visible and sparkle with leaky images and fine costume details.  Colors are pregnant with flavors and lines are thick and unwavering.  The sound – presented in a HD mono track – is adequate. 



  • For this release, the commentary is provided by writer/director Mariano Baino.

Special Features:

Now, the Nunsploitation modern masterpiece can be enjoyed to the max with this release.  There are OVER 4 hours of supplemental material included with the film’s release and those wanting more from director Mariano Baino will be happy to know that his short films are included with this release.  Not only, then, do we get a making of featurette, but we also get the filmmaker’s other output.  Bravo, Severin, bravo!

  • Lovecraft Made Me Do It Featurette
  • Let There Be Water
  • Controlling the Uncontrollable Featurette
  • Deep Into the Dark Waters Featurette
  • Director Intro
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Silent Blooper reel With Audio Commentary by Director Mariano Baino
  • Short Films Of Mariano Baino (with Audio Commentary): Dream Car, Caruncula, Never Ever After
  • Making of Never Ever After


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Dark Waters (1993) - Blu-ray Review