“Show them.” Okay, I will. But only because I love to share a good “what the hell did I just watch” movie with my fellow horror lovers. Whether you love it or hate it, the verdict is not entirely out yet. For me, though, The Outwaters takes the audience on an otherworldly path of insanity that was well worth a second and third watch.
Less is more and then it’s way too much. Written and directed by Robbie Banfitch, this found footage film follows four friends traveling through the Mojave Desert. First of all, I understand that the found footage subgenre of horror isn’t for every horror fan. There are things you need to accept and move past (shaky cameras, disjointed shots, uneven sound quality, and rushed character development). Just settle in, though, let whatever happens unfold, and enjoy the ride. In the case of The Outwaters, a slow start was brilliant in contrast to the violent and jarring second half. Every shot had me wishing and shouting for more but hoping it would be over soon.
Seemingly enjoying a peaceful journey while camping and attempting to capture the desert’s beauty for their music, we get a glimpse into these travelers’ lives. I can’t say I like the characters, but with found-footage movies, do we really need to? It’s not like I’d expect to find someone’s home videos and find a masterpiece of life and adventure. The run time for The Outwaters seemed a little long at 110 minutes, but I wouldn’t subtract a thing once it was over. Settling in and waiting to witness the grand reveal, each shot was the right choice, especially the music and landscape. It was all a perfect set up to the frightening change in sight and sound.
Watch this in the dark. Watch it in the peace and quiet of the middle of the day. The most important thing is to just watch it. Let The Outwaters take you in and surround you with fear, paranoia, anxiety, frightening imagery, blood, sweat, booming and ear-shattering disembodied voices, and out of this world sound. Every flash of horror on the screen had me gasping and wriggling in my seat. Yes, I have questions. No, I didn’t understand the whys and whats. But I don’t need to. I love to be scared, and I got just that in The Outwaters.