What the Waters Left Behind: Scars
by Daniel Baldwin
In 1974, master of horror Tobe Hooper unleashed The Texas Chain Saw Massacre upon the world, giving it one of the most influential films in the annals of cinema history. It wasn’t the first rural terror flick centered around folks poking their heads where they shouldn’t, but it set into place a permanent subgenre mold that much of what has come since has been cast from. This includes the Nicolas & Luciano Onetti’s 2017 slash and torture film, What the Waters Left Behind.
Five years later, Nicolas Onetti returns to the world of that film with a sequel, Scars. The first film followed a small documentary crew as they ventured into a remote, abandoned town in Argentina called Epecuen. This is a real town that was destroyed in a flash flood during 1985 and remained under water for decades, before the flood finally receded and left ruins in its wake. Both films were shot on location in Epecuen, with the resulting production value being their most striking aspect.
Scars trades in a film crew for a metal band, with our doomed musicians merely passing through their area as they finish their bar gig tour. Once they find themselves in Epecuen, they are quickly set upon by the same cannibal family that dispatched the documentarians in the previous entry. A couple cast members carry over on the villain front, with some fresh faces mixed in as well.
The Onettis’ initial claim to fame came in the form of a trio of neo-giallo films (Deep Sleep, Francesca, and Abrakadabra) that have delighted many fans of that subgenre. Unfortunately, their grasp on rural slashers isn’t as strong. The good news is that if you were a fan of the first film, you’re likely to find a lot to enjoy within Scars, as it is a step up in almost every way. The bad news is that it’s effectively the exact same movie over again, so if you weren’t buying what the first was selling, you’re unlikely to want to partake in seconds.
Their stalking setpieces, torture sequences, and excessive rape scenes repeat over and over with little variation or visual ingenuity, leaving us with an 85-minute film that still feels like it is a solid 15 minutes too long. Scars is for the curious only. All others should stick with the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre or either version of The Hills Have Eyes.