The Drownsman Blu-ray Review
Written by ZigZag
Blu-ray released by Anchor Bay Entertainment
Directed by Chad Archibald
Written by Chad Archibald and Cody Calahan
2014, Region A, 88 minutes, Not rated
Blu-ray released on May 12th, 2015
Michelle Mylett as Madison
Caroline Korycki as Hannah
Gemma Bird Matheson as Kobie
Sydney Kondruss as Lauren
Clare Bastable as Cathryn
Samuel Borstein as Henley Jacobs
Ry Barrett as Sebastian Donner
Hannah, Kobie and Lauren have had enough of their friend Madison’s irrational fear of water. The poor girl has shunned liquids for a year, ever since she almost drowned in a lake. Making matters worse, she just bailed on Hannah’s wedding and that is something a maid of honor simply does not do. The bride takes this slight personally and demands an intervention for their friend. Cathryn is called in as a ringer, a supposed psychic capable of communicating with the spirit world, in an attempt to prove how silly this phobia is. Madison reluctantly agrees to participate in the intervention for the sake of friendship, but soon regrets her decision when something from the other side sets its evil attention on her and will gladly harm those around her, too.
The Drownsman is a soggy excuse for horror as Chad Archibald directs this A Nightmare on Elm Street knock-off through all the familiar paces. Rather than set up a quality backstory in the script he co-wrote with Cody Calahan, Archibald makes up the rules as he goes along and leaves more questions than answers. The titular villain is a mysterious serial killer that drowns women in his dingy basement. He was possibly killed by a potential victim, only now he haunts your dreams…er, beverages? There is not a clear logic on how he selects his women, or why. Sticking with the reasons given, viewers are still left all wet once they put even the slightest light on the inconsistencies in the plot. One unexplained example finds our antagonist afraid of fire, which is a bit silly given he is some sort of water demon. Can he not extinguish flames with the lamest of efforts?
Michelle Mylett (Antisocial) leads the largely novice cast as our water-fearing heroine Madison. She gives a solid performance despite the numerous shortcomings of the script. Her character is filled with almost as many contradictions as the wannabe Freddy Krueger villain. Madison takes her fluids intravenously but doesn’t appear to have any hygiene issues suggesting a lack of showers for a year. She is way too terrified of a small puddle to seriously function in any real world environment. If the Drownsman uses water as a vessel, then why not simply drown these women on the spot as opposed to dragging them back to his basement hideaway? It is a shame the filmmakers didn’t further explore the possibilities of having this maniac make a sport of attempting to drown Madison using everyday situations. This would have made the rain storm that occurs in the last act all the more powerful.
The rest of the cast does a fine job, especially Caroline Korycki as Hannah, the bitchy bride. She also navigates the plot holes effortlessly even if it means foregoing a honeymoon in order to berate her friend. We never hear of any postponed plans, or meet the new husband, or even learn his name for that matter. It is almost like Archibald’s script wants me to hate his characters and continually makes them do stupid shit just because the plot twist demands it. Honestly, there is so little emotionally invested in any of these characters that I don’t care what happens to the supporting cast as they are whittled down for a final face-off between Final Girl and Villain-with-a-Secret. The real star here is Cinematographer Marc Forand, who makes the material look nice and manages a couple of cool shots without writer/ director Archibald’s interference. The Drownsman offers nothing new, but is a nice throwback to the tired horror clichés that have been steadily lowering horror expectations for the past few decades.
Video and Audio:
Presented in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, this transfer looks pretty terrific and seeing as how the film is less than a year old, it should. Colors and contrast levels are strong and effective while flesh tones remain natural throughout. There is plenty of picture clarity in the underwater sequences too, another benefit of Marc Forand's cinematography.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track is impressive and gives the rear speakers a frequent workout as the titular villain does his thing.
English and Spanish subtitles are offered for anyone in need.
There are no special features on this disc.