The Movie Waffler New Release Review - THE LAST BREATH | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - THE LAST BREATH

The Last Breath review
A group of divers become trapped in a submerged wreck with hungry sharks.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Joachim Hedén

Starring: Julian Sands, Kim Spearman, Jack Parr, Alexander Arnold, Erin Mullen, Arlo Carter

The Last Breath poster

Following the tail fin of the recent Something in the Water comes another British shark thriller in director Joachim Hedén's The Last Breath. This one is hoping we won't realise it's British, with its young cast adopting American accents, and to my ears at least, pulling it off reasonably well. In his final role before he sadly perished while hiking, Julian Sands is allowed a British accent but it's not his own RP brogue, rather a broad Yorkshire drawl that sounds like he's impersonating Sean Bean.

Sands plays salty seadog Levi, who makes a living taking tourists on diving trips in the British Virgin Islands along with his young employee Noah (Jack Parr). Levi's true passion is in searching for the wreck of the USS Charlotte, which has been lost since it sank during WWII. In a prologue we see the battleship go down, its sailors instantly chomped on by sharks ala the real life USS Indianapolis, subject of Robert Shaw's famous Jaws monologue. One day while out on the water Levi and Noah stumble across the Charlotte at the bottom of the ocean.

The Last Breath review

That night Noah is joined by four of his friends from New York, all of whom just happen to fall into genre stereotypes. There's Noah's ex Sam (Kim Spearman), a kindly doctor who might as well have "FINAL GIRL" emblazoned on her scuba gear; Wall Street douchebag Brett (Alexander Arnold); irritating comic relief Logan (Arlo Carter); and ditzy blonde Riley (Erin Mullen). When Noah spills the secret of the Charlotte, Brett insists that the group take a dive to check it out the next morning, but Levi refuses. That's until Brett offers $50,000, which is enough to get Levi out of debt and keep his beloved boat.

Once inside the wreck, the young divers discover they're not alone: a bunch of hungry sharks have made the Charlotte their home. Thus begins a fight for survival, as along with the sharks, the divers have to contend with their dwindling oxygen supplies.

The Last Breath review

While its characters are a collection of clichés, the cast does a good enough job of bringing them to life. In just a few brief scenes early on we feel like we know enough about these people to be invested in their ensuing ordeal. But as soon as the movie's action becomes submerged in the depths of the ocean, a major issue becmes all too apparent - we can't see a damn thing! These depths are about as murky as it gets, making it virtually impossible to figure out the geography of the claustrophobic setting.

It doesn't help that the actors spend most of the film with their faces obscured by scuba masks, which makes it difficult to keep track of which characters are on screen at any given time. Save for a few scenes where the divers emerge from the water to an air pocket, removing their masks to expel some exposition, the dialogue is all too obviously dubbed in post-production. Close your eyes and you could be listening to a Scooby Doo cartoon. Actually, you don't need to close your eyes as you can't see anything anyway!

The Last Breath review

The conceit of the rapidly depleting oxygen supply is rendered moot as there's no way for the audience to know what level each character's tank is at, so every now and then the film will have its protagonists literally tell us how much they have left. With its impenetrably murky picture and over-reliance on dialogue, The Last Breath might as well be an audio drama. The one asset of the dark image is that it covers up any potentially dodgy shark effects. To my squinty eyes they appeared more convincing than most low budget efforts.

The Last Breath is on UK/ROI VOD from July 1st and in US cinemas and VOD from July 26th.

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