Black Water, (15)

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The Independent Culture

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water... This killer-croc picture is one the Australian Tourist Board will want to bury.

Three young holidaymakers – Grace (Diana Glenn), her boyfriend Adam (Andy Rodoreda) and her sister Lee (Maeve Dermody) – go on a fishing trip upriver, and no sooner enter a mangrove swamp than their boat is capsized by a crocodile. It eats their guide, then stalks them while they cling to a nearby tree.

That's more or less the film, but it's artfully put together by David Nerlich and Andrew Traucki, who cleverly crank up the suspense by withholding a full view of the beast until more than halfway in. John Biggins' atmospheric photography puts you right in the unfriendly swamp, its gnarled ancient trees almost as menacing as the still, soupy waters in which the monster lurks.

The film certainly takes its time, lingering over the psychological torment of the trapped trio, and forcing us in the meantime to consider what we might do in their shoes. It's one of the best minimalist shockers since the divers-meet-sharks movie Open Water.

Watch the 'Black-Water' trailer