REVIEW: Aquaslash (FrightFest 2020)
A slasher set in a waterpark sounds like a ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ type of idea. A lot of potential kills could be played out in a way that would be like Final Destination. Like many people that day, I was intrigued by the premise and the ridiculous title. Surely a film called Aquaslash could do no wrong and would be a fun, silly slasher film, with unique kills?
How wrong I was.
Aquaslash was one of the last films on Day 3 of Frightfest Film Festival, and follows a group of people as they attend Wet Valley Water Park (yes, that is its name) for their graduation. However, things go slowly wrong as it’s discovered, way too late, that one of the water flumes has had two saw blades inserted into it.
And, when I say slowly, I mean very slowly. This is what happens when someone has a horror set piece that they want to implement into a film but has no idea what else to do with the rest of the 70-minute run time. If you’ve seen the promotional image of the bikini-clad girls stuck in a water flume, sliced up by two blades in a criss-cross pattern, then you’ve seen all that Aquaslash has to offer. The gore and practical effects are, admittedly, fantastic and gooey, making the ending set piece a sight to behold. However, sitting through an hour of relationship drama is not worth getting to that point.
From the second the film starts, all of the characters do their best to make themselves unappealing and insufferable. It could be said that the actors try their best to act as these careless and atrocious people. And, since I hated all of them throughout the entire film, they did actually do a good job with acting with whatever they had. They even struggled through the dialogue, which are filled with water and death puns. The dialogue was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, and it should’ve been. However, it completely fell flat on its face due to the fact that it wanted to be a teenage comedy, akin to American Pie, yet never accepted that it was just supposed to be a slasher film. Furthermore, character development was put in the forefront which, again, never felt right because it was not an enjoyable experience being stuck with horrific, mean characters for 70 minutes. The first hour feels more like a soap opera than a horror film.
Aside from the last 10 minutes of the film, it’s difficult to find any other positives, because the previous hour of Aquaslash could be summed up in a few words. Hardly anything else happens before the film gets to its gooey end, which was desperately needed once it occurred. The characters may have suffered, but the viewers were the ones who suffered more in this case. The music wasn’t even interesting to listen to; the budget clearly had to be kept low, so copyright free music from Youtube plagues this film throughout. While it worked during the build-up of the kills and made the scene a dread-filled sequence of horrific events, the rest of the soundtrack felt very out of place with the visuals. The end credits are even accompanied by an operatic piece!
Overall, Aquaslash was one set piece with no plot to build it up. The characters are insufferable and, while the gore was fantastic, the kills come too late. If I wanted to watch a piece of media based around various characters’ relationship issues and how they don’t care about anyone, I would’ve watched Eastenders. If you do decide to watch this bore fest, skip to the last 10 minutes, and accept it as a short film.