What the Waters Left Behind (original title: Los olvidados) is an Argentinian horror film written and directed by the brother team of Luciano Onetti and Nicolás Onetti. A gritty, nasty and cold movie that draws all of its inspiration from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
In 1985 the tourist town of Epecuén in Buenos Aires Province, Argentina was flooded when terrible weather broke the town’s flood barriers. The town was completely submerged and left to ruin. Once home to 1500 people, it now has just one sole resident. A man called Pablo Novak who returned to his home in 2009 when the waters receded.
It’s a fantastic location for a horror movie, that can’t be denied. It’s a shame though, that the story and characters are so familiar.
We see a group of students on their way to Epecuén to shoot a documentary with a woman whose family once lived in the town. Before they get there though they make the obligatory gas station stop where they meet some Argentinian hillbillies and get the traditional warning to ‘stay away’.
They ignore this of course and arrive at the town a few hours later. As luck would have it, the van they are travelling in breaks down. This means the group have to spend the night in the ghost town. However, it’s not as deserted as they thought.
Location aside, What the Waters Left Behind doesn’t have an ounce of originality in it but what it does, it does with heart and gusto. It’s a brutal watch with a high level of gore and violence. You best have a strong stomach to handle the sights on show here.
This level of brutality can get a bit much at times and I could have done without the protracted rape scene. By that stage of the movie it had already hit us with so many gruesome shots and moments that it just felt unnecessary. Some may disagree though as it offers an opportunity for comeuppance.
Inevitably the most memorable thing about What the Waters Left Behind is the location though.
The brothers give us tasteful drone shots to show the extent of the damage to the town. While later locations are disgustingly grimy such as the meat packing plant. Visually, it’s a treat and if it wasn’t such a re-thread of other movies like Texas Chainsaw, it would probably score a lot higher.
What the Waters Left Behind