• Director: Robbie Banfitch
  • Writer: Robbie Banfitch
  • Stars: Angela Basolis, Robbie Banfitch, Scott Schamell, Michelle May, Leslie Ann Banfitch


Found footage tends to be in the same camp as POV and zombie films: you’re either here for it or you aren’t and these films also tend to range from excellent to shit stain, with very little in between. But what happens when found footage meets cosmic horror? The Outwaters is here to answer that question.

Writer, director and star, Robbie Banfitch takes us on the worst music video shoot ever where reality, space and time all seem to fold in on themselves in a hellish nightmare. As per the normal found footage outline, we meet the four main characters (Robbie, Scott, Michelle and Angela) as they engage in banal, everyday conversations and activities while preparing for their camping trip out to the desert: Michelle is a singer/songwriter, Robbie is a director, Scott is the sound guy and Angela is the stylist. It’s via three memory cards from Robbie’s camera that we will see what happened to them.

Everything starts out wonderfully, but after the first night our foursome realize that something is different. Robbie says that, ‘the air feels shimmery,’ and they talk about how the noises and vibrations overnight felt like deep earthquakes. It’s on the second day that the mom theme becomes more pronounced as Michelle starts showing signs of being affected first. By what? No idea. That is both the beauty and downfall of The Outwaters: the unknown.

It’s debatable whether or not the runtime is excessive because it’s the first hour spent just hanging out that almost allows you to forget that you’re watching a horror film, which is all the better for the jarring left turn that everything takes. The hippie/dippie music video shoot quickly turns into a circle of hell where reality is turned upside down, sometimes literally. Utilizing the unique darkness that only occurs in the desert, misdirection, practical effects and legitimately creepy sounds, Banfitch creates an eerie, otherworldly experience that is unlike any other found footage film. Really, it’s the bare bones of it all that makes everything so much more real and surreal at the same time. We stick with Robbie as he consistently films their descent into madness and, maybe, encounters with an alien? Again, unsure and it’s best that way. The last forty minutes are a clusterfuck of insanity that, while it does drag on about ten minutes longer than necessary, it is a creepy, fun time. The practical effects are great and the last scene will stick with you for a while. The Outwaters will not be everyone’s existential found footage bag, but it’s a refreshing new take on a genre that was suffering another stagnant spell.

The Outwaters is in Cinemas February 9. Following the theatrical run, it will be streaming exclusively on Screambox.

Lisa Fremont

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