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Movies & TV

04th Jul 2024

Prime Video has added one of the most divisive movies of recent years

Stephen Porzio

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The film has split audiences right down the middle.

The Outwaters, the divisive micro-budget found footage horror movie from 2022, is now available to stream at home via Prime Video.

The film opens by telling the audience that four friends (one of whom is played by writer-director Robbie Banfitch) in the US disappeared in 2017 after a trip to Mojave Desert but that footage was recovered from three memory cards used by the group.

The rest of movie is presented as if the viewer is watching said recovered footage.

From then on, we see that the four had headed out to the Mojave Desert to shoot a music video but stumbled into some sort of mysterious and threatening phenomena.

Made on a reported budget of only $15,000, The Outwaters has drawn comparisons to other recent experimental horror movies like Enys Men, Skinamarink and We’re All Going to the World’s Fair due to its unique storytelling approach.

Playing out like a more abstract version of The Blair Witch Project, Banfitch eschews a lot typical character and plot development in order to greater convey the impression that the viewer is watching real-life recovered lost footage.

So, the first half of the flick mostly comprises of these ordinary people wandering around the desert for what feels like an eternity before the second half, where they are eventually confronted with extremely gruesome horrors that viewers never really get a proper explanation for.

And given the fact that movie is made to resemble found footage, these horrors are often presented visually in a shaky and unclear way.

While the slow pace of The Outwaters’ first half and the lack of answers in second half can at times be frustrating, we here at JOE we’re also unable to quite shake the film for days after watching – due to its feeling of authenticity, its shocking violence and Banfitch’s often striking imagery.

For those wanting to get a feel for the movie’s vibe, its trailer does a very good job of conveying it.

Reviewers for the most part seem to have enjoyed the horror, with it scoring a very respectable critics score of 74% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The general public have been less enamoured, however, with the movie holding a 40% audience score on the same website, as well as a 4.0 score on IMDB.

That being said, fans of slow burn or more experimental horror may get a kick out of the film.

Here is a sample of some of the positive reviews of The Outwaters has earned:

The Daily Beast: “A cannier, and more effective, slice of shaky-cam insanity than most of its brethren, right down to a finale that’s akin to 2001: A Space Odyssey as processed through a meat grinder.”

Financial Times: “Lacing the scramble too with a cosmic hint of Stanley Kubrick, director and star Robbie Banfitch touches on something truly nightmarish.”

Los Angeles Times: “Some may find all this tedious or confusing, but there’s an admirable integrity to Banfitch’s approach. The Outwaters genuinely feels like a first-person perspective on the end of the world.”

RogerEbert.com: “A film designed to pummel you with confusing terror, and it has some incredibly effective passages.”

Vulture: “The Outwaters sounds Blair Witch–like on paper, down to the camping trip its group of four friends is taking. But the actual experience of watching it is an astonishing array of dreamlike imagery as the trip goes from mundane to macabre.”

The Outwaters is streaming in Ireland and the UK on Prime Video, as well as on Shudder, now.

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