Dark Waters Reviews
It was an accident. I was browsing through my digital TV guide, searching for a flick. Suddenly, I see that a certain channel was about to air the Japanese supernatural flick called Dark Water, which was remade later by Hollywood. Since I hadn't watched it yet, I said "of course!"
And surprise! The guide confused the title with this one.
Then, after ending the flick, I threw the remote towards the TV set, broke it, threw myself out of the window, broke myself, but survived.
Life is cruel.
The tagline for Dark Waters reads "No Air. No Time. No Escape." For the safety and well-being of all audiences worldwide, it would be a sublime marketing choice to add another two words onto the tagline: "No Good!" Dark Waters is dreadfully below average, even by customary standards of direct-to-DVD features. By the look of the film, it seems every cent of the budget went into creating an interesting DVD cover: it displays a few very realistic looking sharks looming underneath an oil rig. We know it's a direct-to-DVD feature and won't be a masterpiece, but you'll think that at least it'll be worth a shot, right? After watching 90 minutes of this garbage, I'm beginning to think the front cover was images from a David Attenborough documentary!
Those familiar with the résumé of director Phillip Roth know what they're in for. Remember Boa a.k.a. New Alcatraz? Credit must be granted for director Roth, as Dark Waters is far worse than his previous movies by incredible margins: Z-Grade special effects, hideous set design, no motivation...heck even the locations appear dull due to the disjointed nature of Roth's lens. Before reading any further, be warned that I have nothing positive to say about this movie so prepare for an exhaustingly long review diving into everything wrong with this shark action tosh!
The plot is a poor excuse to showcase a few poorly executed moments of shark mayhem. Basically, an Oil Transfer Station in the Gulf of Mexico is attacked by large Great White Sharks. The owner of the station, Allister Summerville (Gray), has no idea what happened and feels the need to investigate. Enter aspiring marine biologist Dane Quatrell (Lamas) and his assistant Robin Turner (Mackinnon). The two are drugged by Summerville who plans to hire the hi-tech submarine owned by the couple.
So imagine this situation: an underwater research station, a few highly intelligent sharks, and a few people to become shark food. What's that I hear you think? You're absolutely correct...this is the sub-par low-budget equivalent of Renny Harlin's Deep Blue Sea. The CGI effects in Harlin's picture were terrible enough, but at least there were practical sharks for higher realism. Dark Waters is all CGI...almost every shot. As a result nothing looks remotely believable. It looks like the graphics of a video game from 10 years ago! Even the opening shots are enough to leave a bad taste in the mind of the audience. After the first few minutes I was bored to tears, and I couldn't even laugh at the shark attacks because they're that bad. We can't even see sharks eating people due to the poor filmmaking!
The script had potential...I must grant them that. But that's not in the dialogue, the concept or the situations. The potentiality was purely in the use of hi-tech sharks, of which have 10 minutes of allocated screen-time. Half of that shows the sharks being mobile! So this is a 90-minute shark flick, with barely 10 minutes for the sharks. What's in the other 80 minutes? Laughable drama, incompetent action scenes, atrocious acting and clichéd situations! There are countless clichés that surface within each minute: marines who can't shoot straight, inexperienced civilians who can miraculously stay alive and shoot competently, loose air vents for a convenient escape, sharks never attacking a protagonist...the list goes on!
The plot is filled with plot holes aplenty, to the point that it's a slice of Swiss cheese in comparison. There are also script irregularities, factual errors that are impossible to overlook, and even logical flaws to boot. On top of this, Roth's usage of the camera is ugly. The central fault, though, is how impossible the task remains to categorise the film. The first scene is horror, then it's a drama, then it's a tense drama, then it becomes action before returning to horror/thriller before throwing it all together for the film's climax. The worst part is that there is no intensity. Even the editing is bad! Flashbacks are unnecessary, and there's fast cutting during the attacks that frequently employ close-ups. These looks so bad that it's not even worth a laugh! Dark Waters should sink into dark waters...forever.