Aquaslash (2019)

A new “wave” of terror comes in this homage to 1980s slashers that has an original concept.

Valley Hills High School is holding its annual graduation party at the Wet Valley Water Park. Among the graduates are Josh, who has a dysfunctional relationship with his businessman father; Alice, the class president who is sleeping around with the park’s owner; and Big Phil, the local jock who taunts Josh and his friends/bandmates Chad and Slim. From their arrival, things go haywire with a series of events. That includes Josh rekindling his relationship with former student Kim, who works as a lifeguard at the park whose boyfriend Tommy has a short fuse.

At a bonfire where Josh’s band plays, things completely unravel when a viral video shows Josh and Kim, incurring the wrath of Tommy. When Alice is told by Phil, the park owner and boyfriend, to control things, he is busted by his wife Priscilla. Priscilla in turn, has been seeing Josh’s father over business. However, this will become the least of their problems as a mysterious killer has come to the park and to make sure they get what they want, inserts blades in one of the water slides just before the teens are readying themselves for a big race.

Canada has had its share of great horror or horror style flicks. The classics My Bloody Valentine and Black Christmas set the ground for Canadian terror. Writer and director Renaud Gauthier came up with an original concept. We’ve seen killers in camps, the backwoods, and even at home. However, it is rare to see a killer in a water park, let alone what they end up doing to cause the terror. The film opens in a typical slasher trope of a couple getting killed, Wilhelm scream and all.

The main issue with the film lies in the fact that despite a very original concept, the film drags out and instead of sporadically showing deaths throughout the film, Gauthier decides to unleash the gore within the final 20 minutes of the film. While this may disappoint hardcore horror fans, Gauthier does something very interesting in the lead-up to the film. What he does is give the viewers a chain of events from a love triangle to affairs and business with the intent of making the viewer try to decipher who could be the killer who inserts cross blades into one of the slides.

And when that final 20 minutes finally come, then it is worth the wait. Blood Brothers FX do an amazing job using practical FX instead of atrocious looking CGI, which from what the concept involves would have probably been used had this film been made a decade ago. From the first death via the blades, it’s clear that Blood Brothers used a life cast of the actor, giving it a more realistic look to the death. There are times when certain practical FX may look a bit shoddy due to the fact that we’re in a water park. However, that impact is still there and really makes its point.

Aquaslash may be a bit of a drag with its homage 80’s teen comedies for most of the film, but the last 20 minutes of the film are well worth the wait.

WFG RATING: C

A La Guerila/Blackpills/Rockzeline production. Director: Renaud Gauthier. Producers: Albert Melamed, Philip Kalin-Hajdu, Pierre-Alexandre Bouchard, and Mathias Bernard. Writer: Renaud Gauthier. Cinematography: Derek Branscombe. Editing: Renaud Gauthier.

Cast: Nicolas Fontaine, Brittany Drisdelle, Nick Walker, Lanisa Dawn, Madelline Harvey, Chip Chuipka, Paul Zinno, Ryan Ali, Cameron Geller, Howard Rosenstein, Ivan Ossa.

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