The very moment Dead in the Water begun I groaned loudly. Why? The words ‘A SyFy original’ came on screen and I envisioned another horror show of bad CGI, bland acting and disappointment. For those wondering why I would think that, it’s because SyFy do not have a great track record with their straight to TV flicks. They almost always have interesting premises and awesome covers and that is about it.
Expectations were low, very low going into Dead in the Water however the premise intrigued and the end result? Not as bad as expected!
We’re immediately thrust into the thick of it as we meet the cast, an all-female crew on board a broken-down ship. They are hunting and trying to stop illegal fishing operations but the ship’s engine was pushed to hard resulting in them being ‘dead in the water’.
A bit of a problem as a huge storm is heading their way and a thick fog has just enveloped them.
Of course, that’s far from the only issue the women are going to have to deal with as one of them believes she saw someone in the water. While some set about repairing the engine, the others go out in a lifeboat to see if anyone is in the water.
They find a man, barely alive lying the remains of his boat and bring him aboard. While checking him over, he wakes up and attacks the women before running off. Realising that he is dangerous, they set about hunting him after he shuts the power off.
After a lengthy cat and mouse section, they find him and end up killing him. All the while ignoring that fact that he appears to be terrified and trying to hide from them. This is where the movie takes a different direction as they discover small circular wounds on his body, as if something has been biting him.
The question isn’t what was it but rather where is it? The storm is getting closer and if the boat doesn’t have power, it will be capsized. It’s not the immediate danger for the women though.
What begins as more of a thriller in the style of Dead Calm takes a welcome turn into Aliens’ inspired horror. It can’t hold a candle to those movies of course but Dead in the Water is a better movie then expected. A lot of quality falls at the feet of the actors, the interior of the ship and the tension builds.
Nikohl Boosheri , Nicole Fortuin, Bianca Simone Mannie, Skye Russell, Tanya van Graan, Christia Visser and Amy Louise Wilson are all equally convincing. Each gets some decent screen time and some variations to single their characters out.
The story is good, hardly original but it plays out smartly and the confined ship, lack of natural light and threats makes for many a tense scene. Later, it even ties the creature into the Marianas Trench, the deepest natural point in the world. This adds even more mystery to the thing.
However, it is the creature that is easily the most disappointing thing about the movie. Imaginations run wild and when we finally get a really good look at it, it’s just not very threatening. The CGI isn’t terrible (especially when compared to the waves outside) but it does look pretty fake.
Compared to a lot of SyFy output, Dead in the Water is leagues ahead. It has its problems but makes up for them with a good story and great acting.
Dead in the Water