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Dark Waters
Dead Waters

Russia/Italy/UK 1994
directed by Mariano Baino
starring Louise Salter, Venera Simmons, Mariya Kapnist, Anna Rose Phipps, Valeri Bassel, Pavel Sokolov
written by Mariano Baino, Andrew Bark, music by Igor Clark

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Her recently deceased father has financially supported a convent on a remote Crimean island, so now, aftr his death, Elisabeth (Louise Salter) travels there to find out firsthand what this is all about. But all the nuns of the order seem to be very secretive, not to say weird, and a little stroll around the convent one night reveals some things that do not belong in a traditional convent ... only young sister Sarah (Venera Simmons) seems to be on Elisabeth's side, but before long, Elisabeth doesn't even know if she can trust her anymore.

Elisabeth makes an attempt to escape, but this attempt only seems to drag her into the nightmare that surrounds the castle, and it leads into her own past, as it seems that she, who was actually born on this island, is somehow connected to the convent and its unholy worship of a god who lies dormant in the catacombs - a god the nuns want to awake, but they need a special shattered amulet to do so ... and somehow Elisabeth has just found the last piece of the amulet ...

Eventually, the nuns drag Elisabeth to the catacombs with her shard of the amulet, where Elisabeth doesn't only find out her mother - who was said to have died at childbirth - is still alive, but she also finds out that her friend Sarah is really her sister and the leader of the dark cult. And soon enough, Elisabeth's mother becomes the sacrifice of the cult, as only her blood can activate the amulet (which with Elisabeth's shard is now full again), which in turn awakens the beast/unholy god of the catacombs. Elisabeth eventually seems to give in to the dark side, but ultimately she shatters the amulet, which puts an end to all the horrors ... or indeed does it ?


Without making direct references to it, this film was quite obviously influenced by H.P.Lovecraft and his tales of unholy underground gods and unnamable horrors, carried by a constant feel of unexplicable unease. To a point, the film manages quite well to translate this to the screen, producing a proper atmosphere of unease and menace without giving away too much ... but only to a point. Plotwise, the film soon takes a turn towards the silly, while every now and again giving up on stringent storytelling, and in the end, atmospheric horrorfilmmaking is totally given up for a few weak special effects, worst of all Sister Sarah's distorted head and body which looks lexactly like what it is - a lousily done special make up job. And the final resolution of the film - the shattering of the amulet - can only be described as underwhelming.

Rather a disappointment, actually, but not without its interesting bits.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD