Isabelle (Kristin Erickson) is found by farmhands Luke and Miguel in a field, covered in blood. Beside her is a dead rabbit.
She's taken back to the ranch owned by her parents Blanche (Leslie Fleming-Mitchell) and Eli (Randy Colton), where she tells them she ate the rabbit. Oh dear.
Blanche puts the pale Isabelle to bed and calls on local sheriff Jimmy (Jeffrey Combs, RE-ANIMATOR; FROM BEYOND). He asks to be left alone with Isabelle, and asks her candidly whether she has been abused. Isabelle grabs the sheriff by the hand and shows him a memory of his own abuse - she gives him a vision of one time when he took a female prisoner to a remote spot and forced her to pleasure him orally.
The sheriff leaves in a rush, leaving Blanche and Eli increasingly frantic about their daughter's condition.
After a succession of doctors fail to diagnose Isabelle's condition, and following her attack against Blanche, Eli calls on his friend, local vet Joe to sedate her. Joe approaches Isabelle with a horse tranquilliser, but she overpowers him and sticks the needle deep into his chest - ensuring he remains comatose for most of the film.
Eventually Miguel reveals that he's seen this type of behaviour before - the super strength, the speaking in Latin, the demonic voices. Isabelle is possessed, he announces, and urges her parents to call for a priest.
So, in comes Jacob (Cameron Daddo), the local priest who has an unhealthy history with the family. Eli makes it known immediately that he does not approve of Jacob's presence in his home, but accepts that his daughter needs the Holy man's help.
Jacob inspects Isabelle and, sure enough, she gives him the full demonic treatment - treating him to a vision of the time he walked in on her in the shower … and didn't leave.
As Jacob and Miguel prepare for an exorcism, the rest of the ranch - Eli, Blanche, Luke and Joe - brace themselves for a long night of screaming and absurd behaviour.
Oh, and then Isabelle's estranged sister Claire (Madison Taylor) turns up …
BLACKWATER DIALOGUE looks nice. The cinematography is frequently attractive, and the editing is slick. But that's almost all it has going for it.
The story (allegedly based on fact - yeah, right!) is not original in the slightest, stealing each cliché from bigger and better exorcism-themed productions. The dialogue is clunky and unrealistic, and may be the reason that all the performances seem absolutely dire. Take Colton, or Paul Kapellas as Luke, for example. These guys are terrible - how could they ever have been hired? There's one scene they share together where Eli reacts badly to Luke's confession that he loves Isabelle - it's priceless, it's so bad.
The stationery camera work doesn't help the plodding pace along and, apart from a neat twist towards the end and the slightly interesting sub-plot involving Eli's belief that everyone wants to shag his wife, this is tired and predictable stuff. It looks like a below-average made-for-TV movie.
The film is presented uncut in it's original 1.78:1 aspect ratio, and is enhanced for 16x9 TV sets. The transfer, it has to be said, is great. Clear, bright, vibrant, with pin-sharp images and perfect contrast.
The English 2.0 audio mix is similarly impressive, and optional English subtitles are at hand for the hard of hearing. The film features forced subtitles for the Latin passages of dialogue. Handily.
Static menus include a scene-selection menu allowing access to the main feature via 18 chapters.
Extras kick in with a rather dull 2-minute trailer.
Next up is an insightful 25-minute Making Of documentary which includes plenty of behind-the-scenes footage, plus cast and crew interviews and comments from the film's "religious advisor" Jason Spadafore. There's probably more information to gleamed from what you see and hear in this featurette than there is in your average commentary track.
Finally, it's worth noting that the disc starts up with forced trailers for THE LAST SECT, SATANIC and DEAD MARY.
BLACKWATER VALLEY EXORCISM simply serves to remind you how well conceived THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE was.
Review by Stu Willis
|Released by Momentum Pictures|
|Region 2 - PAL|
|see main review|