The Movie Waffler New Release Review - SOMETHING IN THE WATER | The Movie Waffler


Something in the Water review
Five friends become stranded in shark-infested waters.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Hayley Easton-Street

Starring: Hiftu Quasem, Lauren Lyle, Nicole Rieko Setsuko, Ellouise Shakespeare-Hart, Natalie Mitson

Something in the Water poster

15 years ago it felt like a new zombie movie was released every week. Now we seem to get new shark movies on a weekly basis. Hell, we've even gotten some movies about zombie sharks! Given how Spielberg's Jaws was such a notoriously stressful and troubled production, it's ironic that the shark thriller has now become the go-to sub-genre for low budget filmmakers. Of course, the sharks are all CG rather than mechanical now, and some are noticeably more CG than others.

Something in the Water review

The modern shark movie takes two distinct forms: there are "serious" shark movies like The Shallows and 47 Metres Down, and over-the-top pisstakes like The Meg and the many Sharknado clones. Something in the Water is a product of the first school (no pun intended). What makes this one stand out in such crowded waters? Not much, aside from bring British. If you're expecting a shark munching victims in the polluted waters of the Thames in the manner of the recent Under Paris, you'll be disappointed to learn that it relocates its Brits to the more shark friendly locale of a Pacific Island.

It's there that friends Meg (Hiftu Quasem, whose Scottish brogue is the very definition of lilting), Kayla (Natalie Mitson), Cam (Nicole Rieko Setsuko), Lizzie (Lauren Lyle) and Ruth (Ellouise Shakespeare-Hart) gather for the wedding of Lizzie to Cam's brother. The now obligatory traumatic backstory is detailed in the prologue, in which lovers Meg and Kayla are harassed by a London girl gang who taunt the couple with homophobic jibes. Kayla makes the mistake of riling up the gang members, resulting in Meg suffering a brutally violent attack.

Something in the Water review

Having ended their relationship in the aftermath of the attack, Meg and Kayla are none too happy to be reunited, despite the best attempts of their mates to have them trash out their problems and rekindle the flames of their passion. Believing a trip to a remote island might help in this way, the girls find themselves in a life-threatening situation when one of them is bitten by a shark in relatively shallow waters. Things go from bad to worse when their boat starts letting in water, their cellphones have no coverage, there's only one life-jacket, and Lizzie reveals she can't swim.

Employing essentially the same format as Open Water, i.e. having its protagonists stuck in the middle of, well, open water, Something in the Water is more survival thriller than monster movie. The shark is but the most obvious of several obstacles the girls must overcome, along with fatigue, the elements and their own bickering. There's relatively  little shark action, and even less gore. For a significant portion of the film we're left watching a couple of characters bob up and down in the water as we wait for the shark to reappear, and it drags considerably in parts. Meg and Kayla's backstory ultimately has very little bearing on the situation at hand.

Something in the Water review

What Something in the Water does have in its favour is a group of characters that are fleshed out just enough to feel like real people. While the young actresses are all attractive, they're not the plastic model types usually cast as shark fodder in these movies. You could imagine running into this bunch of lasses down the pub, especially when they indulge in some terrible dancing to S Club 7's hen night staple 'Reach'. Courtesy of writer Cat Clarke, we get some very British banter between the girls, who never miss an opportunity to seize on some smutty innuendo. But this chummy (sorry!) camaraderie disappears once they're plunged into shark-infested waters, and it's difficult to accept how easily they process losing their friends in such horrific circumstances. We also get the odd unintentionally hilarious line, like when one of the girls perishes and Lizzie callously responds with "She can't be dead, she was supposed to be my bridesmaid." More of such moments might have made for a more entertaining and less tedious experience.

Something in the Water is in UK/ROI cinemas from June 21st.

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