Thursday, December 5, 2013

In short: Red Water (2003)

Before the SyFy Original movie really came into its own, before Mansquito was a blink in Tibor Takács eye, the icky sounding Turner Broadcasting System aired Charles Robert Carner's Red Water, a film you could sell to me as part of the SyFy cycle any time. It has everything you'd expect from this sort of film: two likeable leads given by two actors whose faces we all know but who never really got a big break - in this case Lou Diamond Phillips and Kristy Swanson; a killer shark; non-rapper, non-actor Coolio non-acting and at least not attempting to rap; Cajun clichés; gangsters; ex-husband and ex-wife getting back together thanks to the magic of animal attacks; as many explosions as the budget can take, so not very many; evil oil business and evil banks. In other words, there's not a single original idea in the whole film. Instead Red Water tries to become somewhat memorable by at least mixing the clichés of a few different genres.

As with the SyFy films whose cousin Red Water is, there's a lot of fun to be had with it if you're willing to accept the lack of originality for what it is instead treating it as an insult to all of humanity, don't expect something spectacular, and just go with the film's flow. Carner makes that easy enough, for while there are no spectacular stylistic achievements visible on screen, the director does present his plot in a clear straightforward style that fits the clear straightforward story just fine. While there is no really clever moment in the film, there certainly aren't many dull ones, so if you're in the mood for a highly traditional yet effective mix of sharksploitation and thriller that aims to entertain the simple-minded like me, Red Water will scratch that itch nicely without letting you wade through too much idiocy, and without ever trying to bore you. Plus, I don't think I've ever seen a movie monster shark killed in quite this way before.

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