Savage Water 1979 Review
Savage Water 1979
Directed by: Paul W. Kener
Starring: Ron Berger, Bridget Agnew, Pat Comer
Review by Luisito Joaquín González
I never used to write the abbreviation, lol. Then I started texting with a female friend who would use it constantly. Lol this and lol that and eventually, it grew on me. I work in sales, and I have found that it is really an ingenious tool at times for breaking the ice in a business sense. You can write a statement and make it seem as a joke, but get your point across. For example: “For a moment there Mr Client, I thought you were serious about looking at one of our competitor’s lesser products lol”. It’s called planting the seed my friends.
Anyway, I have found another use for this wonderfully versatile three letter acronym. Ask me what I think of the film, Savage Water and my answer, both verbally and written will be, LOL. You see, of all of cinema’s B-movie genres, there’s certainly no doubt that the slasher cycle has the largest percentage of virtually impossible to locate titles. Movies like Houseboat Horror, Cards of Death, HauntedWeen, Streets of Death, New York Centrefold Massacre and Savage Vows have become so impossibly obscure that tracking them down has become a serious hobby to fans of the category like myself.
It’s amongst those rarities that you’ll find Paul Kener’s low budget, low grade, low quality, low brain-cell’d, low life cure for insomnia. A movie so far down the pecking order that it failed to even get released in its country of origin. I came across it in a small video exchange shop whilst on a day trip to Devon. When I asked the storekeeper if it was worth watching, he told me that I was one of the only people that had ever paid any attention to it. The signs were good.
They say that when a film completely disappears, it’s never without a damn good reason. But to be fair, titles like Terror Night, Satan’s Altar, Too Beautiful to Die and Bruno Mattei’s terrific Eyes without a Face have certainly raised a strong enough case for the defence to that age old fallacy.
A group of holidaymakers have booked themselves a dream trip with the Wild West White Water River Boat Company. Their journey will take them along the great Colorado so they can experience first hand the beauty of the Grand Canyon and the ferocity of the water crashing over the rapids. Once they are well away from civilisation, things take a turn for the worse as it’s realised that someone on board has their own reason for wanting to be stranded in the Canyon without interference from the authorities. Before long, the group begin getting bumped off one by one by an unseen maniac with a hunting knife and a murderous agenda. It seems that the killer wants to turn the mighty Colorado into a river of blood…
If Terror Night acts as a good example of an innocent slasher obscurity that don’t deserve to disappear, then Savage Water is as guilty as a suicidal convict begging to be frazzled in the electric chair. A truly wretched time waster, it’s as soggy as the life jackets worn by the boaters of the feature. I should’ve known that I was in for a stinker as soon as I heard the heinous country twanged theme tune over the opening credits, which was so awful that it almost took my mind off the shaky work of the cameraman as he panned the cliffs of the canyon. And yes I mean awful. A-W-F-U-L. Lyrics from the mind of a four-year old, two chord guitar and the vocal talents of Satan’s pit-bull. I was in shock.
When I was finally introduced to the cast of nincompoop boaters, I realised that I was heading for a shocking 105 minutes of unforgivable bile. The pick of the gang of brain-dead river rats include an elderly pair of (ahem) ‘Germans’, whose accents are as convincing as a politician’s promise. Then you have a dodgy psychiatrist who fancies ‘pushing his mind into the boundaries of insanity’ and looks like he still digs the era of The Monkees. I can’t forget to mention the bubbly blonde who reminded so much of Deborah Harry circa ‘Heart of Glass’ that I kept expecting her to drop the oar and kick off a musical rendition. Hot Chica by the way.
Although it was unfortunate that such a moment never came, she was at least responsible for by far the best of the films laugh out loud bad movie blunders. Whilst sharing a drink with an Arabic businessman that was along for the ride, the saucy starlet gave him an unexpected kiss. All of a sudden he jumped up like a bare footed basketball player on a vat of hot ashes and gaffed, “You kissed me, you kissed me, they told me it would happen but not so soon!” “My cousin told me that American woman would do it.” “Will you marry me?” To add to the hilarity of his bemusing reaction was the fact that this guy was about thirty-eight years old!
There’s really no reason for anyone to want to see Savage Water. It’s over-long, boring and filled with heinous acting and pathetic dialogue. The Screenwriter seemed to believe that film fans would be interested in watching a ten-minute example of how to put on a life jacket, or a dozen or so lectures on the dangers of eating wild plant life. You’d probably get about as much enjoyment out of watching a plank of wood float down your local river as you would viewing this mind numbingly tedious excuse for a murder mystery. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that the lump of timber would probably deliver a more convincing performance than the obscurities featured within.
In honesty, I am not sure that the ambition here was to cash in on the success of Halloween. I think this way, only because this was released in 1979 and it may have been a tad to soon, seeing as THE slasher classic hit screens on the last day of October the previous year. It is probably more of a stab at making a thriller, but with a knife-clenching killer as the antagonist. What did interest me though, was that it did seem to have a similar ‘make out and die’ theme going on. Despite the fact that there are no sexual embraces in the film, the flirtiest of the girls does get slashed. This is something that would become a trademark of the stalk and slash genre over the next decade and onward and was very prominent after John Carpenter’s choice of virginal final girl.
To cut an over-long review short, there’s no gore, nudity or anything remotely interesting to be found here. It just makes you wonder how director Paul W. Kener actually felt about his creation when he watched it back after the shoot? Let’s just hope he had a sense of humour and it was along the lines of: LMFAO, ROTFL, ROFL…. Peace