Early evening viewing of this one. It was sort of a time trip, or I thought it was. The eighties horror comes back to haunt us not necessarily the material that made some of that time interesting. ASHBURN WATERS (2019) is an Australian film that takes the ‘teenage camping’ film idea and forgets how to write in favour of either being funny, thinking the audience wouldn’t notice and it’s ok or woefully ignorant to what is implied.
ASHBURN WATERS (2019 is a low-budget slasher film that features some appalling moments in the script. These are appalling in a good way for a film of this nature making one think how a recent script can allow these moments. This film is what I call ‘frat boy’ style with guys drinking beer and scantily clad females around them to have sex with even if it’s so-called illicit.
The first moment occurs in the prologue of sorts when you have the setup for dastardly deeds to come in this case it’s two guys camping at night that are surprisingly drinking beer. A few yards away is another tent with a young girl reading on a lounge under headphones. Her father or parental figure is with her wanting to do activities which she rebuffs. The two drinking guys one of whom is called Filthy Phil (Joel Davies) makes a remark that he wants to get the ‘poon’ (which is slang for poon tang) with the girl on the lounge. His buddy says ‘C mon she is all of fifteen’. His reply is ‘If there is grass on the wickets’ with a smile and grin. He then goes off to ‘drain the main vein’.
This isn’t the character or the situation, this is child porn language and thought and has no place in a film. If the writers thought this was funny or they could slip this in because it is a character, then they are cheap and underestimate the audience. The other fellow while his friend is ‘draining’ goes over to the young girl to tell her that he had ‘come to warn here that his friend is coming down to get with her’. She of course is awestruck by this older guy who comes down smiles etc. and thanks him. The fellow turns his back and smiles when she calls him back thinking he is in with the girl only to find that he is not. The two are killed by a then-unknown beast.
The picture then segues to the main characters all burdened with clichés. The moody one who is jilted, the promiscuous one who brings her new boyfriend, the drunken slob party guy and the studious one who is level-headed and the frightened impressionable one.
No point in mentioning the actors as they are of the kind that we have seen before. There is even a nude scene in a tent that some reviews praise as the highlight of the film may speak to the target audience or low expectations.
Brings to mind Christina Hendricks who was in the television series Mad Men (2007-2015) in the role of the statuesque Joan Harris. After the series ended, she said in an interview that ‘I acted my face off in the series and all many saw were my boobs’, I mean are we still in this type of beer-slinging slob male cock of the walking stuff? Wait it gets better, not really, one character says the line ‘You better keep your bitch on a leash’ when one of the females raises an objection. How does one accept this and dumb portraits of young folk drinking and cannonballing into lakes that look shallow, making remarks about women’s bodies? The genre is better than this. I leave that to the viewers I only report what I saw.
The good point as there is a chance to see an Aborigines medicine person warrior do some standard demon fighting and control. The idea added a novel Australian dimension to the maniac in the wood-killing campers that was somewhat well used. You got arcane knowledge, spreading salt into a circle to protect people. Sadly, an opportunity was lost as the idea is not exploited.
The campsite is haunted by a seaweed demon right out of Dr Who played with some good movement by Carly Rees. ASHBURN WATERS (2019) gives us shots of dead bodies with some blood on their faces and souls torn out. The actual soul torn out is the script which as mentioned is horrid for this day and age or any age. Directing wise the action what little there is moves well particularly the prologue visually with the nude tent scene tastefully handled. The actors try hard, but they come off as an acting class exercise which perhaps it is one as all must learn. The actors who do the best with some restraint and do their dialogue well are Jade Prechelt as the sleazy conniving Scout and Maia Michaels as Cassie the studious nurse type. These folk anchor the film amongst all the crassness that happens in the script.
ASHBURN FALLS (2019) is still trash and not good trash since I cannot forgive those moments mentioned before in the script. The remarks mentioned are not funny, there is real trauma in their subject and real horror for some plus this is 2023. That’s not woke, that’s filmmaking. This film is best summed up with this line from The Narrow Margin (1952): “She’s a dish. A 60-cent special: cheap, flashy, strictly poison under the gravy.”