THE OUTWATERS is a found footage horror movie that is deliciously creepy but also too long, which doesn’t help it. Still, as an immersive experience where you just give in to it, this has so much going for it. Read our full The Outwaters movie review here!
THE OUTWATERS is a new horror movie in the found footage subgenre. It is also straight-up body horror at times and one hell of a mindf*ck. With a runtime of 100 minutes, it does run too long for me. There are some repetitions that – while they are important and do make sense – could’ve been trimmed a bit.
Of course, I also have to acknowledge that watching a screener at home isn’t the same as the experience I’d get in a dark movie theater. And this could be a deliciously creepy totally immersive horror experience in a movie theater. I doubt the runtime would feel too long in the same way. Okay, maybe you’ll feel the need to escape, but that’s in a way that’s clearly intended.
Continue reading our The Outwaters horror movie review below. The film opens in theaters on February 9, 2023.
A solid premise for found footage horror
The story of The Outwaters is classic found footage, where memory cards are suddenly discovered and make up a story that isn’t neatly scripted. The memory cards are unearthed in a remote stretch of the Mojave Desert, but the actual found footage begins a while before they reach the desert.
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The found footage tells the story of four friends who go on a camping trip to the Mojave Desert to film a music video for one of them. She’s a singer and needs a music video to help get her music out to more people online. And let me just say that the music (original music by Salem Belladonna) is good.
I was especially vibing in the best way with the track that played during the end credits (“Red Hands” by Lauren Jacquish)!
Getting back to the horror of this story, it comes fast once it gets dark. This is when things get very strange, very fast. Weird sounds and lights are the least of their problems on this trip.
Ultimately, both the people in the found footage and us (the viewers of The Outwaters) are brought out on a mind-bending trip that consists of unrelenting terror impossible to completely identify the origin of.
The stars of The Outwaters are Robbie Banfitch (he’s also the writer-director and cinematographer), Angela Basolis, Michelle May, Scott Schamell, and Leslie Ann Banfitch. Every single actor in this delivers exactly what’s needed for their respective characters. Kudos to them all, because this does get very crazy along the way.
Back to the found footage roots
In so many ways, The Outwaters is clearly a throwback to the early days of the found footage subgenre. We get the introduction stating that memory cards have been found and then a lot of footage bits that lead up to the story that is full-on horror. In that sense, it even reminded me of Cloverfield (2008).
The movie has apparently been drawing comparisons to The Blair Witch Project and Skinamarink. While I can easily understand the first comparison in terms of found footage (one scene feels like an actual tribute), the latter is more in terms of vibe and creepiness. For me, however, The Outwaters is stronger – and, yes, to me better – than Skinamarink.
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As stated earlier, I do feel The Outwaters is too long. However, at 100 minutes, it didn’t feel nearly as long as Skinamarink did with the exact same runtime. Mostly because there is much more of a story in this movie and we interact more with the characters. That’s something I clearly need. I discovered as much from watching Skinamarink and then this new one.
Whether this movie stays 100% true to the found footage dogma can be up for discussion. There is some sound (and music) added and it’s hard to see how this was part of these fragmented clips on some memory cards. Also, it’s only because the main character is a filmmaker that we can accept he holds on to the camera no matter how crazy it gets. That part works for me!
Watch The Outwaters in theaters now or on Screambox later!
The writer-director of The Outwaters is Robbie Banfitch. As mentioned earlier, he also stars in the movie and is the cinematographer. However, it definitely works, which means it was clearly the right choice. Even when we get into brutal (and very undressed) body horror, Robbie Banfitch isn’t holding back anything. At all!
On a personal note, I have to say that the pinpoint-focused flashlight did drive me a little crazy. I get that it’s scary how we only get to see like 5% of the screen while everything else is in the dark. But who the hell would bring such a flashlight to the desert where it’s pitch-black at night?!
Again, the horror effect it strong, but it did start working my nerves eventually. It’s difficult for me to be crazy about this movie as a whole because it went on for too long. However, it also has a lot going for it, so I would definitely recommend any fan of found footage, body horror, and absolute mindf*ck stories, to check this out.
Our 2 out of 5 rating isn’t entirely fair. But we don’t do half-star ratings. If we did, this movie would be getting 2½ out of 5.
Watch the Found Footage Horror THE OUTWATERS in Theaters from February 9, 2023. Following its theatrical run, it will stream exclusively on Screambox.
Director: Robbie Banfitch
Writer: Robbie Banfitch
Cast: Robbie Banfitch, Angela Basolis, Michelle May, Scott Schamell, Leslie Ann Banfitch
Memory cards unearthed in a remote stretch of the Mojave Desert tell the story of four travelers who vanished during a sun-drenched camping trip. One night, everything changes when the foursome is sent on a mind-bending voyage of unrelenting terror into a world of darkness that no human was ever meant to see.