The Marshes

01/25/2020 12:22

Film: The Marshes

Year: 2018

Director: Roger Scott

Writer: Roger Scott

Starring: Dafna Kroental, Sam Delich and Mathew Cooper



This was a film that I checked out when I thought needed a 2020 horror movie as a featured review for my podcast. I thought there weren’t any releases hitting the theaters so I gave this a watch on Shudder. I ultimately ended up not reviewing it for that, but made it a mini-review. Now I heard it wasn’t very good and saw the rating, but still wanted to give it a chance before deciding. The synopsis here is deep in a remote marshland, three young biologists conduct research, but when they encounter evil, science ends and survival begins.

We start in a laboratory where Pria (Dafna Kronental) is talking with a co-worker. It is brought up that there’s only one position between her or another scientist when that person comes in, Ben (Mathew Cooper). He asks if he can tag along with the expedition to the marshlands with Pria. She agrees that they can make room. That’s when an undergraduate who is also going comes in, Will (Sam Delich). Pria seems to find him attractive as he takes the supplies to the car.

On their way, we see that Pria and Ben have done this before. Will is a good sport and tries to join in on their game of guessing the bird calls from an iPod. They stop off to get gas where Pria has a run in with a hunter, Zac Drayson. He seems interested in her until he finds out she is a scientist and thinks she’s there to ruin the water like in other towns. She tries to convince him that’s not the case, but he won’t hear it. He also acts quite immature while she pumps gas or tries to get into the building to pay.

The trio sets up camp and then goes about their business. Over a campfire Pria and Will show interest in each and Ben tells them a tale about a Swagman who supposedly lived in the area. The next day, Pria and Will go off and encounter that jerk hunter from the gas station along with a lady, Amanda McGregor. There’s more being rude from them as they’re not supposed to be there as the land is a reserve. They did kill a pig and Pria takes a picture of them with it to report.

This wasn’t the smartest idea. Pria starts to have some vivid dreams and this move into being terrified of noises around them. The two hunters are messing with their stuff, but there could be something out there worse than them. It comes with whistling a tune that Ben told them about.

Now this movie did some things that did hook me early. The first thing is that I like our three main characters are either scientists or a student so I was ready for some investigation. On top of that, I like the setting of this marsh with the high grass, because as I’ve said before, I grew up the country with cornfields that were taller than me which are scary and disorienting. Then on top of that we have these two hunters they encounter. The problem is that with all of this good set up, it falls flat for me.

The opening images are of tiny, microscopic creatures that would probably be in the water. So I immediately start to think that this could be an infection movie. Nope, I think this is used as stock footage as we get other images from animals so that goes no where. Then I thought we might get something like Deliverance. That movie is referenced quite a few times. They’re bothered by hunters who Pria calls the male an inbred hick. This also really doesn’t go anywhere except that they do mess with them a bit. This movie finally settles into what it wants to be, where it is skirting the lines of supernatural or just being a deranged person, but it never commits to either. To make it worse though, it uses a bunch of dream sequences that actually annoyed me.

I don’t want to just beat down this movie, but despite its runtime of 95 minutes, it takes forever for something to happen. I don’t mind taking the first thirty minutes to introduce us to what we have here. We do get to meet the main core of the characters during that stretch and establishing where they are as well as what they’re doing. The problem then becomes that it takes another 15 minutes to finally get something to actually happen. It never hooked me and I found it boring due to this. We do get something that could involve time loops, but much like the other things, doesn’t get fully explored. The ending actually made me mad for what it did as well. It is a shame as the villain is pretty creepy too, especially with the look and implications of them.

That takes me to the acting, which was a bright spot. I liked the dynamic that we get between Kronental, Delich and Cooper. Pria and Ben are butting heads because they’re vying for the same position that there only seems to be enough money for one. He gets a bit dirty in calling her out for showing interest in Will. Since he’s a student it is against the rules, but I’ll at least give him credit for her warning. The sexual tension between her and Will did feel real. When things get tense, I feel that they’re actually worried. Drayson and McGregor really don’t have the biggest part, but I like how rude they are and it is interesting what happens to them both. Eddie Baroo looks really interesting in his role as well. He really fit and was quite creepy actually.

Moving to the effects, there really wasn’t a lot to actually talk about. A lot of things that do happen are off screen. We get a little bit of blood, which looked real. I would say that the people that are attacked do look afraid. I would have to give credit to the cinematography here. They initially framed things as they probably didn’t have the budget and this helps there as well as preventing us from nit-picking. The shears that the killer is using were quite creepy as well.

Now with that said, this film did have me hooked with some things, but then really did let me down. I don’t like to bash a movie if I don’t have to. This unfortunately tried to do too much without really doing anything. I just found it boring and where it went didn’t go far enough. I did think that the acting was bright spot for sure and even though we don’t get a lot of effects, it is framed in a way where I’m not bothered. The soundtrack didn’t really stand out either, but it didn’t hurt either. I did like the whistling song that we get as it is an interesting theme for the killer and kind of creepy actually. I personally found this to be just below average for me. Some good things, but didn’t do enough and lost its way because of it.


My Rating: 4.5 out of 10