It seems as though Jill and I have inadvertantly stumbled across a new (to us) sub-genre of shark movie: the true crime variety. Unfortunately, it’s not an added element that works as well as you’d think – we’re all here for the underwater action after all and all these criminals want to do is talk about how bad they are.
I’ll save my detailed thoughts for tying up this post at the end but I would like to have a conversation with the writers/director about the logistics of storing a Great White in an average sized indoor pool. Or rather, stored elsewhere, to be released into the pool in 3 minute increments.
BLOOD IN THE WATER (2022)
Saw meets Jaws
A young woman, guilt-ridden for a crime she committed but got away with, is captured by a sadist for a game of Russian roulette with a great white shark and four similar opportunists who have escaped the law.
Genre: Horror, Mystery ∙ IMDB user rating: 2.5
My score: 1.5/5 ∙ Runtime: 88 mins
*Spoilers but it won’t matter*
A lawyer called Henry is chained up by the side of a swimming pool while a disembodied voice tells him off. I forget the actual words but the gist of it is that he’s not a nice man and whoever has him in captivity is keen to punish him for his crimes as a crooked man of the so-called law. This is no ordinary tale of vengeance though, this is swimming pool shark vengeance – and incidentally, not a good advertisement for getting a girl like me back in the public pool.
While Henry’s remains sink to the bottom of the heated pool (again, I have questions about the optimum temperature to keep Great Whites indoors), we meet Hannah, a young woman clearly going through it. From what we can gather, her partner has recently been incarcerated and she’s not doing well with it. Alas we don’t have time to fret about the details as she’s soon kidnapped from her flat.
Waking up with burning eyes and a lot of confusion, Hannah finds she’s – gasp – chained to the floor next to a swimming pool and she’s not alone. As her new companions – six total strangers – gradually awaken, the same disembodied voice from the beginning urges them to work together to figure out what they have in common and in turn, understand why they’re there.
At first sight, it seems unlikely this rag tag bunch could have anything in common but when they dig a little deeper and ascertain that Henry the lawyer was the common denominator, they start to get somewhere. And so unravels each individual story of nefarious behaviour followed by total injustice as each of these prisoners gets off scot-free – including Hannah.
Could the perpetrator of this glorious game – in which one of the guilty gets plopped into the shark-infested pool if they don’t answer truthfully or fast enough – be someone wronged by one (or all) of these miscarriages of justice?
While the numbers start to diminish considerably – and old toothy fills his belly – Hannah finds herself going head to head with crocked cop Cody who seems unwilling to share his truth, even after she’s spilled her guts. We get the feeling this won’t bode well with our antagonist who turns out to be both a surprise in the sense of who they are – and also, by how sympathetic the character is.
Meanwhile, can Hannah ask for forgiveness and ultimately find peace at the end of all this – if she makes it?
Fucking hell. For a start, this storyline is very flimsy and there is no explanation as to how and why the villain has chosen to gain vengeance in this way. I mean, we all want to torture our enemies via the medium of shark attack, sure but it’s not really the most practical way to go about it. See questions above. At the same time, if I could buy their motive, did they just involve everyone else because they’d been naughty? Again, seems a bit far fetched but I guess that’s where the Saw element comes in. Our faceless Jigsaw-esque leader is all about teaching life lessons.
Otherwise, the flashbacks are clunky but they do the job – especially the one about the angel of death live-in carer. Hannah’s own flashback is unfortunate but I am left a little confused by the actions of her partner. It’s a nice thing to do, to take the wrap for your girlfriend but man, I feel like the truth might have been better? After all, it was just a tragic accident.
Of course I would say this but there’s not nearly enough shark action and honestly, there’s only so much it can do in a restricted space before it gets repetitive. It would have been so satisfying if we’d got different traps incorporating the shark – and spent more time watching the victims fight for their lives.
I will say I did like the end reveal and I thought that character was one of the better ones. Had they been featured more as themselves I think this would have been a better experience. I also appreciated Hannah’s heartfelt final monologue. If I have to say something nice about it.