Five Environmental Horror Movies Tackling Water Use and Pollution

Water is considered as the biggest necessity of life. Decreasing water levels around the globe is a major concern. As water is used extensively in different aspects of human life, fulfilling its demand is a big challenge. From industrial applications to residential usage, water is required everywhere – and it’s this ubiquity that makes water easy to manipulate into something terrifying. 

Of course, most of us know of horror films that take place in or around water – how many killer shark features or slashers set at pool parties have we had by this point? The answer is probably too many; but as climate change continues to be at the forefront of discussion for many countries – we wanted to look at the other kind of water-horror movie. The ones that deal with true life fears about our planet’s future; pollution, declining water supplies, toxins in water supplies and the rapidly changing climate. The imminent nature of these threats is perhaps what makes these films more subtlety unsettling than their blockbuster counterparts.

In the last few years, there have been an increasing number of these films released; even crossing over into sub-genres like zombie flicks, apocalyptic and body horror. There is also something of a tradition in the B-Movie circuit of monster movies to explore the consequences of environmental damage and water supply issues. While written off as cheesy drive-in movies at release – some of these 50s, 60s and 70s movies might actually pack more impact in today’s world. So, let’s delve into environmental horror movies that tackle issues around water.

5. The Bay

Produced by Orem Peli (Paranormal Activity) and Jason Blum – The Bay is a bit of a departure from the jump-scare heavy films we have come to expect from Blumhouse. It’s a found footage affair, with some exceptional effects sure to turn stomachs. The Bay is presented as a series of video logs, news reports and mobile phone footage documenting the disastrous effects of toxic water pollution. The irresponsible handling of wastewater allows a deadly disease to spread among the population – resulting in widespread illness and death.

Wastewater is very dangerous for the environment because it contains many harmful components. Different toxic greenhouse gases are released from the wastewater that can hurt the atmosphere. These gases not only contribute to air pollution, but they also cause depletion of the ozone layer. All these factors are eliminated from the wastewater after treatment – which thankfully is becoming more widely adopted.

4. Alligator 

Where there are human, there is sewage water. While this aspect of our water cycle is usually hidden from view – this monster movie gives us a look at what happens when it goes wrong. Playing on the well known ‘sewer alligator’ urban legend, the creature feature sees an alligator surviving in the sewers, contaminated by nearby animal testing facilities. Of course, it’s an 80s horror film, so it grows to enormous proportions and takes revenge on humans!

One of the most repelling aspects of wastewater is its smell, which is a big challenge to tackle. There is always a risk of equipment malfunctioning like valve leakage, which can worsen the problem. However, a high-quality ball valve like the ones found at can be used to avoid such a situation.

3. Cabin Fever 

The 2002 body horror is best remembered for it’s fleshy special effects. A group of collage students take a break in an isolated cabin (where have we heard that before!) when they are attacked by a man suffering a strange disease.

The students attempt to kill the man, unwittingly letting him fall into a water reservoir. Of course, the water supply become toxic, with the characters falling victim to a flesh eating bacteria – with gory results.

2. Crawl 

The most recent film on the list, Crawl was released this year and explores current affairs surrounding climate change and severe weather. Haley and her father become trapped following an extreme hurricane, and find themselves stalked by alligators.

The film was praised for updating the monster movie for a modern audience, producing tense an terrifying scenes that show how disastrous water can be when climate change is at work.

1. Doomwatch

Ok, so it’s a both a TV series and a movie. But terrifying BBC scifi-horror Doomwatch horrified the nation when it debuted in the early 70s. The feature film version released in 1972, and took place at the waters surrounding an island as they become contaminated by chemical dumping, and people who eat fish caught in those waters become deformed and violent.

Though it never reached the popularity of the BBC’s main sci-fi attraction Dr. Who, it’s time to give Doomwatch another look. Exploring themes like genetic engineering, chemical waste and climate change, it might be more relevant now than ever.