Monday, July 17, 2023

What the Waters Left Behind: Scars

The Ravens are such a dumb hardcore band, they don’t get the Damon Knight (“To Serve Man”) joke when a fan promises “my folks are having barbecue—they would love to have you.” Unwisely, they drive her into the ruins of Epecuen, the flooded Argentine resort city that remains in complete ruins. Just like in the previous film, the Ravens fall prey to a grotesque Texas Chainsaw-like family of homicidal freaks in Nicolas Onetti’s What the Waters Left Behind: Scars, which releases tomorrow on VOD.

This film is a lot like the first film, unfortunately, but it was helmed by only one half of the Onetti Brothers. At least Luciano Onetti showed his support by scoring the sequel and serving as associate producer. It is just as sadistically brutal, but this time the Epecuen squatters are so violent and hostile, they also display a tendency to turn on themselves. That could theoretically open a window of opportunity for the Raven, but don’t get your hopes up.

Scars might even be tougher to slog through the just plain What the Waters Left Behind. The first film maybe also made better use of the shockingly bleak and powerfully cinematic Epecuen backdrop. Still, there are some striking drone shots of the tour van crawling across the blighted landscape.

Magui Bravi has some interesting moments as the inbred clan’s temptress, Carla. Onetti adds a gory prologue from the Falklands War, which muddies the waters even further—maybe even generating sympathy for the British. Remember all you “anti-colonialists,” the Brits were fighting the despised military junta—and they won, no matter what
Scars tries to imply.

There is some really vicious stuff in
Scars. It is the kind of horror movie that makes the squeamish think they hate horror movies. The Onetti Brothers have always run decidedly hot and cold. Their Giallo homage, Francesca, is still one of their best, but the Epecuen films are just unpleasant. Not recommended, What the Waters Left Behind: Scars releases tomorrow (7/18) on VOD.