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Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Blood in the Water, or: Texas Chain-law Massacre

It seems to be our misfortune this Shark Month to have very few shark appearances in films ostensibly about sharks. Instead what we get is a series of shady characters with questionable motives. Is it so much to ask–is it really? To reflect the anarchy of our world in a bunch of senselessly violent CGI shark attacks?

Apparently so. If you’re looking for bloody shark murder content, this week’s film ain’t it–despite promising gore in the title.

The Film:

Blood in the Water

Director:

Dominic Nutter

The Premise:

Waking up chained next to a shark-infested pool, a group of strangers must rely on each other to escape death…or not.

The Ramble:

After waking up chained by the ankle next to a pool, a man pleads for his life to an unseen voice over a speaker. The man is Henry, a lawyer with sketchy dealings, and those seem finally about to catch up with him. Escalating things extremely quickly with an escape attempt involving jumping into the pool and cutting his own foot off…turns out to be unwise. An unknown creature in the pool attacks and kills Henry. And, of course, that creature is a shark.

A woman sits on a couch in an apartment, looking upset.

Unfortunately for a group of seemingly unconnected strangers, Henry is not the last victim of the voice/pool shark. Troubled young woman Hannah is abducted, finding herself chained by the ankle along with 5 others. It’s not long before the group realizes they are all linked by Henry, who had been secretly recording many of his clients.

A man lies next to a pool, grimacing. His leg is chained to something beneath the water.

Of course, Henry is not the only connection the strangers share, and the voice is fixated on getting all of the victims to confess their sins before time us up and the shark is unleashed. Uncaged? In a fairly uninspired Agatha Christie knock-off plot, all of the victims’ crimes are related. To be honest, though, the only mystery that held my attention at all was how every single character managed to be so boring, whether engaging in illegal activities or dying by pool shark.

The Rating:

1/5 Pink Panther Heads

This is a rather incoherent mess, all told, and I’m not feeling particularly forgiving. I got bored, so the only thing I can do is be overly critical about unimportant plot details. A few questions that will doubtless keep you up at night:

  • What is the setting for this film? The accents are a confusing range of American, British, and somewhere in between? They somehow all sound fake.
  • People call Henry a lawyer (American), but…
  • the Brooklyn(?!) cop pulls over a guy whose steering wheel is on the right side of the car (defo not legal in the US). Pretty sure, anyway. I can’t be bothered to rewind and confirm.
  • Is the pool full of salt water? That feels difficult to maintain long-term, though admittedly this is a rather short-term murder plot.
  • I expected some kind of explanation for the choice to go to so much trouble to murder people by shark. I remain dissatisfied.
  • Above all, why so little shark action?!?!?

Would my blog wife fess up to her sketchy criminal past or sacrifice this one to the sharks? Read her review to find out!

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Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Aquaslash, or: You Get out of My Park

You know how it is, right? Some days you enjoy a nice day at the water park, and other days you witness a bunch of high school students emerge from a water slide in chopped up body chunks. But seriously…that is the plot of this film. Are you ready for it? Are you really, though?

The Film:

Aquaslash

The Premise:

A killer lurks in the dark and tampers with water slides during celebrations at a water park for a group of graduating seniors.

The Ramble:

To most people with good judgment, the stairs leading up to a massive slide in a closed water park would not be a particularly romantic place to hook up. But don’t tell me you started reading about a film called Aquaslash because you expected any of its characters to behave like rational people with any survival instincts whatsoever. Perhaps not so shockingly, the couple at the beginning of this tale is doomed–bodies disappearing after being hacked to pieces. Worryingly, the unknown attacker has also used the opportunity to tamper with the slide, inserting razor-sharp blades into the middle of the ramp.

Shortly thereafter, a graduating class of high school seniors arrives at the water park to celebrate all of the academic honors and prestigious awards they have earned. JK–they’re a bunch of rich kids who are here to snort coke, have naked raves, and inexplicably enjoy an ’80s theme. You know…teen stuff.

A group of teens in a mix of beachwear and graduation gowns stand at the entrance of a water park.

Obviously there’s a mysterious caretaker of the property lurking around, dispensing cryptic advice. Throw in a group of employees that includes the controlling boyfriend of a high school dropout, the park owner (having an affair with a high school student), and the park owner’s wife (seeking petty vengeance with random high school dudes), and you have achieved soap opera levels of melodrama. Which, btw, doesn’t mix well with a water park unless your goal is to take a bubble bath.

So anyway. The park used to be a real attraction in the area, but it’s lost some prestige lately. Possibly the murders that happened 35 years ago to the day didn’t help matters. Then again, the park owner is usually on speed, hitting on teen girls, or arguing with his wife in public…which is also not a great look.

In a dimly lit restaurant, a red-haired woman, Priscilla, sits across from a dark-haired man.

Tensions are high among the teens too, as emo band leader Josh (who we’re supposed to sympathize with since he looks like a budget Andrew Garfield) sees his ex Kim for the first time in years. Kim, to whom some unnamed but terrible thing happened, is now dating Tommy, winning combo of abusive/possessive/short-tempered. All Josh and Kim want to do is be together…but they can’t. For…reasons.

Josh, a teen holding a guitar, sits on the edge of a small outdoor stage with Kim, a teen with long hair blowing in the breeze. Behind them, two bandmates set up musical equipment.

Meanwhile, queen bee and chief mean girl Alice is looking forward to time alone with her boyfriend, park owner/manager Paul. The two make no effort to conceal their affair, and you’d hope that at least one of the teens would report that shit to a teacher. However, obviously there are no teachers in sight to supervise. Unsurprisingly, Paul’s behavior enrages his wife Priscilla, notable for being hot. Priscilla seems to enjoy accumulating lovers, as she is meeting in secret with Josh’s dad, who happens to be rich (and appropriately obnoxious). At the same time, Priscilla has been prowling the graduating class looking for a hookup.

Of course, it’s at the evening’s bonfire and anticipated ’80s tribute concert that all of the secrets come tumbling out into the open. In the ensuing chaos, anonymous knife-wielding attacker gonna…attack.

Tensions are at an all-time high during the next day’s sea snake competition, a 3-person water slide race. What will happen when the competition begins, and the teens take carefree turns down the water slide…of doom?

The Rating:

1.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

I can’t quite justify a full 2 stars (YIKES), but I did get some enjoyment from this. I will give credit for the originality of the premise; however, at the same time, I strongly suspect the entire concept was merely a typo.

For most of the film, we are simply checking off a bunch of teen horror tropes…though it’s sometimes difficult to discern how genuinely self-aware this film is. I’m sure my analysis of human behavior in this film is completely beside the point, but here are a series of thoughts that occurred to me throughout the first 85% of the film (which is almost entirely teen spring break behavior and virtually no horror):

  • Being in a band doesn’t make you less of a douche just because the jock stereotypes around you are complete tools
  • Not even 10 minutes in, and I’m already tired of the water park being called Wet Valley
  • This high school is a hell of a lot nicer than mine if they have an overnight trip anywhere to celebrate graduation
  • For real, the only Black character with more than one line of dialogue is a jock and the class bully? GUYS.
  • The water park logo looks a lot like the Wonder Woman logo. Coincidence?
  • How does no one notice the high school girl making out with the dude in his 40s in broad daylight? Even if both parties are legally adults, it would still not be allowed on a school trip.
  • Wow, almost every person in this movie is a bit too into slut shaming
  • Literally every high school student here is an unhinged psycho

I will admit the ending of the film is fun to watch in a gleeful horror kind of way…but don’t expect it to make a whole lot of sense. And having to sit through an hour or so of painfully stupid teenagers making poor choices isn’t necessarily worth it in the end.

Would my blog wife enjoy a casual splash in the pool with this one or remorselessly push it down a murder slide? Read her review to find out!