Black Water (film)

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Black Water
Blackwater subpage.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by David Nerlich
Andrew Traucki
Produced by David Nerlich
Michael Robertson
Andrew Traucki
Written by David Nerlich
Andrew Traucki
Starring Diana Glenn
Maeve Dermody
Andy Rodoreda
Music by Rafael May
Cinematography John Biggins
Edited by Rodrigo Balart
Distributed by AV Pictures
Release date
  • 3 August 2007 (2007-08-03) (Nuremberg Fantasy Filmfest)
  • 22 February 2008 (2008-02-22) (United Kingdom)
  • 24 April 2008 (2008-04-24) (Australia)
Running time
89 minutes
Country Australia
United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $0.7 million[1]
Box office $0.6 million[2]

Black Water is a 2007 British-Australian horror-thriller film set in the mangrove swamps of northern Australia. It was written and directed by Andrew Traucki and David Nerlich and stars Diana Glenn, Maeve Dermody and Andy Rodoreda. The film was inspired by the true story of a crocodile attack in Australia's Northern Territory in December 2003.[3]


Grace (Diana Glenn), her younger sister Lee (Maeve Dermody) and husband Adam (Andy Rodoreda) are going on the Blackwater Barry tour out in the Mangrove swamps for fishing. After leaving the home of Grace's mother, Lee convinces the three to go to a crocodile exhibit. They learn that local male crocodiles can grow to massive sizes and are extremely dangerous. Later that day, the trio go to a bar, where Lee suspects that Grace is pregnant when she refuses to have a drink.

The next day, Grace confirms Lee's suspicion, but Adam remains unaware. Once they arrive at the docks, their tour guide, Jim (Ben Oxenbould), arms himself with a six-shot revolver and the group sets off. After failing to catch any fish on the usual route, the boat is bumped by something in the water. Jim removes an old paint can from the river, stating that it is what hit the boat. He then suggests that they steer off course deeper into the swamps, where he believes there may be larger fish. Once they veer off course, Grace begins to panic, but the others are unaware.

They arrive at a small clearing far from the course they should have taken, and Adam immediately snags a fish. Jim shouts words of advice while Lee, camera in hand, spots something in the distance. She alerts Grace, but after a second glance, sees nothing. Suddenly, the group is thrown about when the boat is bumped again. After a second, more powerful hit, the boat capsizes, dumping Grace, Adam, Lee and Jim into the water. Adam realizes a crocodile has attacked them and helps Grace into a nearby tree. He then searches the water for Lee, who is tangled up in ropes under the boat.

Grace sees the enormous crocodile nearby and convinces Adam to climb into the tree. Lee frees herself and swims out from under the boat. The crocodile swims after her as she struggles to climb atop the boat, but she manages to get on top. The crocodile thrashes the boat around in an attempt to throw her off. Adam and Grace distracts the crocodile, which, defeated, swims away.

Grace and Adam plan a way to get Lee safely into their tree and realize they can use the ropes from the boat to pull it across. Lee throws a rope to Adam, who, with Grace's help, attempts to pull the boat to the tree. When their efforts have no effect, Adam believes the rope to be caught on a stump, and tells Lee she will have to swim across. Hesitant at first, she eventually slides off the boat into the water and begins to walk across to them when something splashes in the distance. Panicking, she runs to Adam and Grace who pull her up the tree. Grace and Lee suggest that they sit and wait for someone to come looking for them, but Adam states that no one saw them leave. Grace then suggests they climb across the trees to the mainland. She tells them she'll check out this possibility first and come back. She sees that they would not be able to climb across the trees, eventually having to swim across the river. On the way back to tell them the bad news, she finds Jim's ear floating in the water. Panicking frantically, she returns to Adam and Lee in the tree, keeping the discovery of the severed ear a secret.

After much waiting, Adam impatiently insists on making for the boat, and Lee and Grace agree. Adam climbs into the water and swims to the boat, then dives under it. The boat begins shaking back and forth violently and finally overturns. Adam then reappears over the side of the boat. Suddenly, the crocodile pulls him under the water, thrashing him about. Lee and Grace are overcome with sadness and despair when the crocodile surfaces with his body clenched in its teeth.

Grace tells Lee that they must finish Adam's plan to use the boat. Lee keeps watch for the crocodile while Grace attempts to get to the boat. When Grace grabs the boat rope, Lee spots the crocodile and alerts her. She panics and drops the rope, quickly returning to safety on the tree. She then attempts to reach the boat rope from a low-hanging branch, but the crocodile jumps out of the water and narrowly misses her. Terrified of the crocodile, the two sit and wait. They see Adam's body floating nearby. Later that night, the crocodile returns and begins eating Adam's body.

The next day the two see the boat is drifting away. Grace refuses to return to the boat, and Lee suggests they use the trees as a guide through the water. They make it halfway across the clearing to the other side when the crocodile surfaces in front of them. Grace and Lee flee back to the tree, however the crocodile grabs Grace's leg and pulls her underwater. The crocodile thrashes about, trying to drown her. Grace escapes and reaches the tree - however her leg has been heavily wounded.

Lee attempts to reach the boat while Grace's condition worsens. She reaches the boat and climbs inside. She attempts to turn on the motor when the crocodile jumps into the boat and attacks her. It catches her torso in its mouth and pulls her underwater. She falls unconscious.

Later, Lee awakens on a small island beside Jim's body. She bandages her broken finger with the fabric from her shirt and sees that her torso is bleeding. She takes Jim's gun and washes it off. She takes the remains of one of Jim's arms and uses it to try to lure the crocodile to her. When this fails, she stands up and looks around, unaware that the crocodile has surfaced behind her. She turns around as it attacks her. She tries to shoot the crocodile but the gun misfires. A chase ensues as she tries to run. After running, the crocodile in close pursuit, Lee turns around to see it has vanished. She looks around everywhere, gun in hand, waiting to shoot it. The crocodile surfaces in front of her, and the gun misfires again. The crocodile grabs her and pulls her underwater. Lee realizes that the hand holding the gun is in the crocodiles mouth. She pulls the trigger while it thrashes her around and the gun shoots the crocodile in the head. The crocodile dies and Lee makes her way back to Grace.

After trying to wake Grace up, Lee realizes she has died from blood loss. She mourns the loss of her sister. Lee places Grace's body into the boat and begins paddling out of the swamp. A noise behind her startles her, but she sees nothing and continues paddling to safety.



The location representing the vast mangrove swamp system in northern Australia was actually in the directors' home town of Sydney, 25 minutes from the Central business district In a small suburb called Oatley. They also spent a week in Darwin shooting footage of real saltwater crocodiles that were transplanted into the location along with the actors, with the directing team doing their own CG special effects to achieve this.[4]


Other festivals:


Black Water received positive reviews from critics, achieving a "fresh" score of 79% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 19 reviews.[10] Critics praised the lack of CGI commonly used in this type of film, as well as the tense plotting and suspense built from it. Neil Smith of Total Film Magazine also praised the ending stating it was "a conclusion that refreshingly refutes the genre rulebook."


Award Category Subject Result
AACTA Awards
(2008 AFI Awards)
Best Supporting Actress Maeve Dermody Nominated
Best Editing Rodrigo Balart Nominated
Australian Guild of Screen Composers Music Award for Best Soundtrack Rafael May Won
FCCA Awards Best Supporting Actress Maeve Dermody Nominated
Best Editing Rodrigo Balart Nominated
Inside Film Awards Best Director David Nerlich Nominated
Andrew Traucki Nominated
Best Actress Maeve Dermody Nominated
Best Editing Rodrigo Balart Nominated
Melbourne Underground Film Festival Best Director David Nerlich Won
Andrew Traucki Won
Best Cinematography John Biggins Won

Box office[edit]

Black Water earned $98,901 in Australia and $637,959 worldwide.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ McMahon, Barbara (19 January 2008). "The night of the hunter". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 April 2010. 
  4. ^ George, Sandy (21 February 2007). "Same reptile, different scale". The Australian. Retrieved 8 August 2007. 
  5. ^ FrightFest (23 August 2007). "FrightFest". Archived from the original on 1 July 2007. Retrieved 7 August 2007. 
  6. ^ Kelly, Brendan (17 April 2007). "Variety". Retrieved 8 August 2007.  External link in |work= (help)
  7. ^ Fantasy Filmfest (29 August 2007). "Fantasy Filmfest". Archived from the original on 14 July 2007. Retrieved 7 August 2007. 
  8. ^ Australian Film Commission (29 August 2007). "UK theatrical release for Black Water". Retrieved 7 August 2007. 
  9. ^ Inside Film (29 August 2007). "AV closes more deals on crocodile thriller Black Water". Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 7 August 2007. 
  10. ^ Rotten Tomatoes, Black Water
  11. ^

External links[edit]