Argentina Chainsaw Massacre

What The Waters Left Behind from the Onetti brothers may have been derivative filmmaking but the blood-soaked Argentine movie left a serious impression on foreign horror fans, one of the last decade’s grittier and more inspired genre films. It was a nicely crafted piece of terror, set in a memorable and rather unique location despite its hackneyed premise.

Nicolás Onetti returns without his brother to direct What The Waters Left Behind: Scars, a knock-off sequel which may actually be nastier in tone but has far less appealing characters this time around. It’s clear as day this sequel is more closely aimed at English-speaking markets than the hair-raising first movie. Our erstwhile victims here speak English before getting slaughtered like helpless sheep by the Argentine cannibals.

What The Waters Left Behind: Scars is disposable but sometimes effective horror

An indie rock band touring Argentina becomes stranded in the desolate Epecuén, the same fearsome setting from the original What The Waters Left Behind. Flooded back in the 1980s, the tourist village was absolutely devastated and most residents moved out. When the waters finally receded years later, only the bare remnants of civilization were left. Lured there by the seductive Carla (actress Magui Bravi in a role recast from the first film), the witless group is kidnapped by a clan of twisted psychos. Think a tawdry version of Texas Chainsaw Massacre set in Argentina.

Much of this largely unrelated sequel is a pale imitation of better films, going for shock value and inane twists in place of crisp storytelling. The whole first act is mostly useless, introducing us to the ego-driven dynamics within the punk rock band. By the time these mostly unlikable characters become stuck in Epecuén, you aren’t that upset when they get kidnapped by rejects from The Hills Have Eyes.

What The Waters Left Behind: Scars is disposable but sometimes effective horror in the vein of Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s slap-dash sequels. It’s clear Onetti hopes his movie will find a bigger American audience with its more obvious commercial tendencies than his more thrilling original, which was firmly grounded in real Argentine history. Stick with the original if this is your first time seeing What The Waters Left Behind. Scars isn’t unwatchable as its own thing but hardcore horror fanatics won’t find anything new in the generally predictable action.

Video

What The Waters Left Behind: Scars boasts two different aspect ratios. The opening war scene curiously begins in 2.35:1 and then the remainder of the film plays in 1.85:1. The new indie production offers fairly typical video quality for 1080p video, starkly clean and almost lacking the expected atmosphere for what is mostly a torture porn exercise. Clarity and definition look rather good, while minor issues drag the razor-sharp aesthetic into merely average territory.

The main feature runs an unrated 85 minutes on a BD-25, encoded in occasionally messy AVC. There’s chroma noise and a few other compression oddities in the presentation. Flesh-tones are decidedly unnatural, the digital color correction has that over-driven contrast and sun-baked vibe so loved by cheesy filmmakers.

While Cleopatra Entertainment isn’t known for their videophile credentials, it’s hard believing this Blu-ray is anything but a pure replication of the movie’s digital intermediate. Any faults in the picture quality likely reflect choices by the director and cinematographer.

Audio

5.1 Dolby Digital and 2.0 PCM options provide stout audio choices. The film is a mixture of some English and mostly Spanish dialogue. It’s a loud, aggressive mix with thundering power, filled with hard rocking tunes. There’s nice separation and discrete activity all over the soundstage, including the grisly Falkland Islands opening scene with British troops.

It’s still mystifying how Cleopatra Entertainment, primarily a music label, keeps issuing lossy soundtracks on Blu-ray when their musical soundtracks would definitely benefit from lossless audio.

Optional English subtitles play in a white font. It should be noted the English subtitles only work for the Spanish dialogue, they do not appear for English dialogue.

Extras

Cleopatra Entertainment issues the movie on Blu-ray in a disc coded for all regions. There’s not much in the way of bonus features.

Slideshow (02:40 in HD)

What The Waters Left Behind: Scars Trailer (01:55 in HD)

Cleopatra Entertainment Trailers (Seven in HD)

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided by the label for review. This has not materially affected DoBlu’s editorial process. For information on how we handle all review material, please visit DoBlu’s about us page.

What the Waters Left Behind: Scars
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
3

Movie

A louder, more commercial follow-up with none of the same craftsmanship as the original Argentine horror gem

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 37 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots ripped directly from the Blu-ray:

 


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