Dead in the Water is a 2018 American science-fiction horror feature film about an all-female crew of a boat that becomes the victims of an alien creature.
Written and directed by Sheldon Wilson (Stickman; Neverknock; The Hollow; The Unspoken; Red: Werewolf Hunter) the movie stars Nikohl Boosheri, Nicole Fortuin, Bianca Simone Mannie, Skye Russell, Tanya van Graan, Christia Visser and Amy Louise Wilson.
Dead in the Water is a nautical horror story that will probably remind you of a few other horror films. (Of course, if you’ve watched enough Syfy films, you know that’s not necessarily a complaint.) Like The Descent, it features an almost entirely female cast. Like Ghost Ship, it takes place within the claustrophobic confines of a boat floating on the ocean and there’s literally no escape to escape to be found.
Like an Alien film, this is essentially a siege film in which we watch the cast’s attempts to survive an attack from a relentless enemy that keeps coming and coming. And finally, much like John Carpenter’s The Thing, the enemy is an alien who jumps from victim to victim. You’re never quite sure who might be real and who might be possessed. It’s all about the paranoia.
Dead in the Water follows the crew of a boat that gets lost in a thick bank of fog. When they come across a man floating in the ocean, they pull him out and start to examine him. He’s still alive, though barely. He implores them to kill him and then themselves too. He says that the only way to “end this.”
After they oblige the first half of his request, the crew members speculate that may have had a virus but a video on his phone reveals a far different story. Apparently, the man was the last survivor of a group of scientists who came across an alien life form in the Arctic sea. With an alien life form now running around the boat, the crew must attempt to survive while a terrible storm rages outside.
Both thematically and visually, Dead in the Water is one of those films where everything is really, really dark. In fact, the film was so dark that it was sometimes difficult to see just what exactly was happening on the screen. At times, this was effective. After all, fear of the dark is one of the big phobias and the darkness made it easier for the alien to do its thing.
That said, I would someday like to see a new horror film that takes place in an adequately lit room. We’re so used to horror in the dark that I think horror in the daylight would probably be an interesting change of pace.
The best thing that Dead in the Water had going for it was its cast. I liked the fact that not only did this horror film feature an all-female cast but that they were all portrayed as being competent professionals. No one was there just to scream and be a victim, which is something that I always appreciate.
Though the nature of the alien isn’t a huge shock, it’s still an effective little monster. Director Sheldon Wilson does a good job of keeping the action moving and capturing the desperation of being stranded out in the middle of nowhere.
Lisa Marie Bowman – guest reviewer via Through the Shattered Lens
“The seven female crewmembers really convinced me at certain moments. At other times it came across as implausible. Maybe it was due to the limited freedom of movement […] On the other hand, this limitation makes it fairly claustrophobic.” Movie Freak
Dead in the Water aired on the Syfy channel on October 27th 2018.
Cast and characters:
- Nikohl Boosheri … Dana
- Nicole Fortuin … Kat
- Bianca Simone Mannie … Gwen
- Skye Russell … Rusty
- Tanya van Graan … Erika
- Christia Visser … Sparks
- Amy Louise Wilson … Michelle
- Brandon Auret … Stranger
Image credits: Movie Freak