DEAD IN THE WATER (2021) Reviews and overview of psycho thriller

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‘Two best friends. One killer weekend’
Dead in the Water is a 2021 American psycho-thriller about two young women on a weekend getaway who invite a male stranger into their lives.

Written and directed by Nanea Miyata (Christmas Harmony). Co-produced by Nanea Miyata, Ryan Moon and Peter Porte.

The Lunar Field production stars Catherine Lidstone, Angela Gulner, Peter Porte, Sam Krumrine and Michael Blake Kruse.

Review:
When she was a teenager, Tara (Catherine Lidstone) was the only witness to the drowning of her brother, John (Michael Blake Kruse). He fell off a bridge after taunting her about her desire to be a professional photographer and telling her that their parents would be forever disappointed in her. Ouch!

Ten years later, Tara is still struggling with her brother’s death. She spends her time vlogging about photography, working a demeaning waitressing job, and carrying on a toxic relationship with Derek (Sam Krumrine). When Tara discovers that Derek has been cheating on her, she starts to spiral into depression. Fortunately, her best friend — Amy (Angela Gulner) — has a solution!

It turns out that Amy’s family owns a really nice house on the beach! Amy suggests that she and Tara spend a weekend up there, without phones, without WiFi, without any connection to the outside world. (Sure, how could that go wrong?) Tara is reluctant but she finally agrees to Amy’s plans.

At first, it seems like the perfect getaway. The house is big. The scenery is beautiful. And yet, Tara can’t help but feel that something is amiss. She hears strange sounds in the house. Some of her possessions end up disappearing. Even though she’s with her best friend, it soon becomes clear that there are some unspoken tensions between Amy and Tara. Amy is sick of Tara feeling sorry for herself. Tara feels that Amy is spoiled and has never had to struggle. Fortunately, since it’s only the two of them, they should be able to work through any issues pretty easily, right?

Then, Lucas (Peter Porte) shows up. Lucas is handsome and charming and really good at fixing things. He also says that he just happens to be a huge fan of one of Tara’s favourite books, Wild by Cheryl Strayed. When Amy says that she’s never heard of the book, Tara says, in shock, “But I did a whole vlog about it!” Hmmm…..

Soon, Lucas is staying in the house with Tara and Amy. Tara likes him. Amy likes him. Does Lucas have an agenda of his own?

Of course, he does! And, let’s be honest, you figured that out as soon as I mentioned him. As I’ve said before, the best Lifetime films are always a little bit predictable. You don’t necessarily watch these films to be shocked. You watch them so that you can talk back to the screen as the characters in the movie make the most obvious mistakes possible. That’s part of the fun of a good Lifetime film. From the minute that Lucas shows up, it’s obvious that he’s not just some innocent hiker who happened to stumble across the beach house. It’s obvious to everyone but Tara and Amy.

But that doesn’t really matter. Though it may be predictable, Dead in the Water is still a lot of fun. In fact, it’s probably one of the more enjoyable films that I’ve seen on Lifetime recently. This film delivers exactly what you want from a movie like this — attractive people in attractive locations dealing with sudden melodrama and a lot of sexual tension. Director Nanea Miyata does a good job of generating suspense, especially early on in the film when Tara is struggling to figure out whether or not there’s really someone in the house or if her own paranoia is getting the better of her. In the two main roles, Angela Gulner and Catherine Lidstone both give good performances. You believe them as best friends, right down to their occasional disagreements. Seriously, the occasional disagreements are a key part of having a best friend. You love them even when you know you’re driving them crazy.

Dead in the Water was a lot of fun. Keep an eye out for it.
Lisa Marie Bowman, guest reviewer via Through the Shattered Lens

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Other reviews:
“As you watch Tara’s current and past relationships, you will witness that she is an emotional punching bag for John, Derek, and Amy.  Use this movie to learn how to recognize and remove yourself from these toxic relationships.  After all of that, it’s easy to understand who is stalking Tara, but it’s why that will keep you watching.  And the ‘why’ is the creepiest reason in a Lifetime movie ever.” The Best Darn Girls

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“Sadly, I felt completely empty inside when Dead in the Water was over. It boasts a boring and predictable script, weak direction, and bad editing. It’s not a Hallmark movie but it sure feels like one. Dead in the Water is dead on arrival.” rating: D, Caillou Pettis Movie Reviews

Dead in the Water looks good even if you don’t get its initial gist […] 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.” Views on Film

Trailer:

Choice dialogue:
Tara “I’m not big on lakes.”
Lucas: “Aren’t we just all works in progress?”

Release:
Dead in the Water premiered on the Lifetime channel on January 15, 2021.

Cast and characters:
Catherine Lidstone… Tara
Angela Gulner … Amy
Peter Porte … Lucas
Sam Krumrine … Derek
Michael Blake Kruse … John

Notes:
Not to be confused with the 2018 alien-on-a-ship creature feature of the same name.

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