Aquaslash was a 2019 indie horror film that takes place in the unique setting of a water park. The movie was announced with a still of 3 girls sliding down a slide towards a set of blades making an X, thus setting up how the kills would happen. Honestly, I was intrigued. The premise and setting were unique, and I have a thing for over-the-top indie horror flicks, including (but not limited to) ones that land firmly in the “so bad it’s good” category.
However, I am also a bit over the ones who try to go down this path intentionally, so I get a bit weary. Still, I went into this movie with mostly excitement but a bit of caution.
The movie takes place during the graduation weekend for a group of high schoolers. As is tradition, the higher schoolers spend the night there partying and enjoying the water park. During the last day, there is a contest where teams of teens slide down the slides simultaneously to race for a prize. It is during this that we get our movies’ main event.
I hadn’t really prepared for this movie, only realizing later that there is only one logical way for it to play out. You know movies that are basically nothing building to just horror in the climax, well yeah… The thing is, I should have instinctively realized this movie would choose this direction because, of course, that’s the case. There is only so much you can do with this plot as far as horror goes, and the build-up to one major scene is the best possible way. I wasn’t prepared, but again should have been, so it made the slog a bit hard.
The movie really is sex, drinking, drugs, establishing shots, a shaky plot, and a whole lot of trying to be 80s building to the end. It also had a lot of problematic plot points and tropes. I feel in its effort to be 80s, it forgot that only some parts of those movies are worth bringing forward. Still, it is about our ending, so the question is – is it worth it?
Honestly, for me, no. And I really do hate to say that.
It is not to say the climax has no merits. There were some intense moments and good gore. In fact, on the subject of gore, the body parts were done really well, although a few of the effects and scenes were a bit off. The movie also came up with a believable explanation for how the body count got increased even though you’d imagine after the first set of bodies nobody else would go down. It was an interesting 3rd act, but it wasn’t strong enough to carry the rest of the movie for me. I will give it credit for taking some unexpected turns, but I found myself wanting more spectacle.
Underneath that is also the mystery of who did it. It’s a pretty solid explanation and a good reveal, although I had basically worked it out before then. There was a piece to the ending I hadn’t picked out, but other than that, I found it a bit easy to read. However, it wasn’t so predictable that I was 100% certain, and there were a few other suspects. With the hints laid out and the direction of the plot, though, I think a lot of people will sort it.
So bottom line? I am torn. I don’t want to say the movie is bad, but parts of it kind of bothered me, and I felt that the attempts to be 80s worked both for and against it at the same time. Still, I think people will enjoy that element of it, and the climax is pretty decent. I was ultimately let down, but I don’t think everybody will be. It’s also not a movie that I will say I hated; I just didn’t enjoy it. I would only recommend it to genre fans, and I expect many of them to know to go in with lower expectations, but I think some reviews raise them a bit more than I would suggest. (not to imply others are wrong, just my differing opinion)