ColdWater (2011)

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ColdWaterStarring Ivan Djurovic, Sanny Van Heteren, James Duval, Rick Irwin

Written by Dave Parker and Ivan Djurovic

Directed by Dave Parker

Andre (Djurovic) has been asked by a friend to house-sit at another friend’s home. The house that needs sitting is amazing and creepy, a character on its own, and by nightfall the house becomes downright scary. Statues seem to move, figures are seen in doorways. As time passes, the scares and tension escalate, and Andre looks for ways to “escape”. While doing so, he discovers pieces of the puzzle that is this place and what’s inside. The viewer starts in the same situation as Andre, not knowing much about the house or its owner, and as he discovers clues and gets spooked, the viewer follows along. The way Andre reacts to his discoveries in a natural manner makes him real and brings the audience into the story, making them care about what happens to him.

ColdWater is a collaboration between writer/actor Ivan Djurovic and writer/director Dave Parker, who let it be known to those of us who attended the premiere of the film at the recently concluded 2011 Big Bear Horro-Fi Film Festival that the house they found as a shooting location played a big part in upping the scare factor as it has so much to offer, so many rooms and creepy spaces. The story they wrote in and around this house is effective with the right amount of unnerving events, from simple did-I-imagine-that? movements to surprising apparitions. Adding to the viewer’s uncertainty, the story is told through three different points of view: the classic third-person viewpoint of most movies, Andre’s viewpoint through his handheld camera, and the house’s viewpoint through its security system. All of these get together to show different angles to different scenes, bringing up doubt as to what just happened, if it happened at all.

Parker’s direction is subtle, making it look as though we might be watching something real, involving us in the scares and getting us to care about Andre and what happens around and to him. It is obvious that Parker loves the genre and knows what works. His passion for this film shows in both his directing and his writing. As his co-writer and lead actor, Djurovic creates a believable guy as Andre, the accident-prone, concussed house sitter. Most of the movie rests on his shoulders and his capacity to be realistically scared. Supporting him in the rare few scenes where he is not alone are Sanny Van Heteren as his love interest and James Duval as Guy, a man who shows up and brings the weird to the surface. Their acting is top-notch, and their short appearances do add to the story and help round out the character of Andre.

The effects and cinematography support the story and its scares by blending in with it and the environment in which it takes place. The score present with the cut showed at the fest was not the final score as both the movie and its music are still a work in progress. The final score is being composed by Joseph Bishara, whose other genre credits include Insidious, Night of the Demons, and The Gravedancers. Also worth noting, a few familiar names popped up during the credits, including Dread Central’s own Buz Danger Wallick, who acted as assistant director.

All these elements put together make for a well crafted genre film. The tension, scares, and ambiance in general are effective and make this a scary experience up until the end, which did not work for me … at first. However, the more I think about it, the more it succeeds (or maybe my imagination is making it work). All in all, ColdWater is a great spooky house movie that should give you more than your fair share of the creeps.

3 1/2 out of 5

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Emilie Black