The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond


As a rule of thumb, it’s never wise for vacationing college students to assemble and then play a dusty, ancient-looking board game they discover behind a basement wall. The ill-fated fools in the amusingly silly The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond do so nonetheless and end up possessed, one after another, by demons that prey on each person’s hidden desires and secret sins. Director Gabriel Bologna—son of veteran character actors Renée Taylor and Joseph Bologna—and co-writers Sean Clark and Michael Berenson, waste a lot of time getting their nine sex-obsessed youths in front of that murderous board game, but once they do, the movie shifts into gear. Cleverly designed, with intricate moving parts, the game contains tarot cards, creepy skeletal totems, and, in its center, a shimmering faux-pond in which players can witness the truth about past events in the lives of their companions. As truths unfurl, resentments flare, and soon the kids are slaying each other with all manner of sharp objects, including, of course, a chainsaw. Bloody and gory, but in a friendly way, this is a movie for old-school horror fans who understand that, sometimes, bad is good.