★ out of ★★★★★
Sometimes tentacles just ain’t enough.
Directed by Jeremiah Kipp.
Tentacles. This movie has tentacles! Some kind of crazy tentacle beast from the depths of the sea! Sure, he kinda looks like the Flying Spaghetti Monster, but is that such a bad thing? Oh, the pathos he brought to the few scenes he was in! You could tell he’s got some classical training in his background. Sadly, try as he might, our writhing, tentacled thespian couldn’t save this utter train wreck of a movie.
Black Wake does have a few notable names on its poster, too. Tom Sizemore? Eric Roberts? Vincent Pastore? Hey, I recognize those names! And, judging by their performances, I’m assuming all of them were told to be in this movie as part of some court-ordered community service or something. Eric Roberts seemed to have breezed by in between hair appointments, Tom Sizemore acted like he was being fed his lines through an earpiece he could barely hear, and Vincent Pastore just wanted to take a nap.
Truth be told, the idea behind Black Wake is decent. A bunch of people turn up dead along the coast due to some sort of parasite. Is this an outbreak? Some kind of wide-spread infestation? Or is there a pattern to it? Are the deaths the result of an otherworldly intelligence attempting to harm and/or control the populace? Time to investigate!
The screenwriters took that idea and decided the best way to present it was with a near-constant monologue by our main character, Dr. Luiza Moreira [Nana Gouvea], one of the scientists looking into the mysterious deaths. Hailing from Brazil, Black Wake was Ms. Gouvea’s debut English language film. While she’s obviously very accomplished in Brazilian productions, her accent is still a bit heavy to be talking directly to the camera for an entire movie.
Well, okay. She wasn’t vlogging the whole time. Turns out, Black Wake is also a found footage film. In between the looong stretches of Gouvea’s stare-at-the-camera-and-talk scenes, there are “videos” shown. These are supposedly videos the researchers have discovered during their investigation of the parasitic invasion. Some of them look like legit found footage segments. The rest are inexplicably shot from various angles, from a 3rd person point of view, or are just extremely hard to believe — like the crystal clear video footage (with sound!) from a security camera in a parking lot.
I have to point out the obvious lack of respect for women in Black Wake as well. You’ve got the creeper CIA agents secretly ogling Nana Gouvea’s character as she lounges by the pool, the morgue attendant and lead researcher who apparently have no sense of decorum when it comes to female corpses, and the truck full of dudebros blatantly intent on rape.
Add all of this up and Black Wake is one for the burn pile.
Here’s hoping Nana Gouvea and the Flying Spaghetti Monster can co-star in a much better movie somewhere down the road.