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Movie Review: The Black Waters of Echo's Pond

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How many horror stories begin with a group of friends, alone at night? How many board games begin the same way? If the comparison seems absurd, consider that the terrifying forces of The Exorcist are unleashed by a single child, playing an innocent game. Now, imagine the lengths of evil that would ensue when a group of adults set more sinister pieces in motion. Relationships are ripped apart - and so are bodies.

This is the terror that lies beneath The Black Waters of Echo's Pond, a devious play on the haunted house and serial killer genres. Ignore the faux-vintage, Pan-infested preamble and the promotion suggesting a Jumanji-with-gore creature feature; the film is a clever twist on blood-and-guts slashers. The base elements are all finely executed - a self-absorbed group interested only in sex, drugs & alcohol; a curiously abandoned house, spirited away from all authorities and civilization; an even more curious assortment of sharp and blunt objects; and a very respectable body count. Only this time, the victims are running not from a masked madman, but from themselves. Possessed by an increasingly cruel truth-or-dare game, they become their own killers, transformed into beings of pure jealousy. These are no green-eyed monsters either; when the players challenge their romantic vows, closest friendships, deepest fears and even racial tensions, they are literally consumed by a vicious, unrelenting rage.