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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Dead in the Water 2021 * * 1/2 Stars


"There's someone watching us". I'm watching Dead in the Water right now and I'm about to review it. It's Lifetime so time to break the cork out!

Anyway in 2021's Dead in the Water, the "dead" refers to a nasty brother who drowns after bullying his sister. That scene comes to in a series of flashbacks throughout. One of said flashbacks nearly gave me the creeps. You'll know if you take in a viewing.

So OK, Dead in the Water is a mystery half-thriller that struggles to find its footing. You don't know what it's about or how it's about until an hour in. The good-looking actors do their best with an uneven script as their tones shift on a dime. Oh and Dead in the Water's setting is forestry luridness that never quite gives you its location (it sure looked like Oregon to me).

Directed, written, and produced by one woman (Simi Valley's own Nanea Miyata), Dead in the Water chronicles a photog named Tara (played by Catherine Lidstone). Tara gets dumped by her rocker boyfriend and decides to pertain in a weekend getaway with bestie Amy (Angela Guiner). From there, chaos and conflict ensues when the two cross paths with a scruffy drifter named Lucas (played by Tyler Hoechlin lookalike Peter Porte).

Dead in the Water looks good even if you don't get its initial gist. That's thanks to lush cinematography by Nathan Haugaard that appears like something Sam Mendes would have done circa twenty years ago. Director Miyata is also committed as she gets all Hitchcockian on us. Nanea uses interesting camera angles, slow burn minatory, and stylish whims to get the audience going. Her film eventually takes the easy way out by descending into a plot about a psycho obsessing and stalking a young female. No freshness winding up here just "dead" load.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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