Directed by:
Written by: ,
Starring: , , ,




REVIEWED BY: Dr Lenera, Official HCF Critic


There have been two deaths on a Louisiana river and it seems that a Bull shark is responsible, as they can live in river water. Dr Kelly Raymond wants to drill for oil in the area, and asks her ex-husband John Sanders to take her there, who eventually agrees. Arriving at the site, they see an anchored boat which they believe belongs to their competitors from the Global Oil Company, but they are actually dangerous criminals who are seeking a large amount of stolen money that is hidden in the car at the bottom of the river….


Like my fellow HCF writer Matt Wavish, I’m a sucker for a shark movie and can therefore get some enjoyment out of some quite poor movies as long as they feature sharks terrorising people. It’s true that there are only a few really good shark films, and only one that is truly excellent [you don’t need me to tell you what film that is]. Well, Red Water is another fairly poor effort, and yet it’s an effort I enjoyed in parts. I say in parts though, because for much of its length it’s a little dull. Jaws can get away with lots of talky scenes because the writing, the acting and the direction are extremely good. Films like Red Water though, because they’re of a far lower quality, can’t. The writing, acting and direction are none too impressive, so to make up for this they need to deliver far more in the way of thrills and spills, and if they don’t do this than the result can be frustration or even boredom as we patiently wait for the next shark attack.

Red Water was a TV movie from 2003, which had some gore removed for its TV premiere but was restored for its DVD releases.I saw the film on the UK’s Channel Five and I don’t know if it was the uncut version or not, but it was pretty tame. There were some brief bites and what I thought was a severed arm, but most of the time all you saw was lots and lots of CG blood, and not very convincing CG blood either. For some close-ups of the shark it does look like they built a model, but it’s actually CG. Mostly it’s just a real Great White shark. Yes, you read that right. The shark in the film is supposed to be a Bull shark, but anyone with the slightest knowledge of sharks [or at least someone who has seen Jaws a few times] will recognise it as a Great White. Then again, the writers clearly don’t know much. Somebody says: “The Bull shark is one of the most aggressive sharks and can grow up to twelve feet!”, but actually they only grow to six feet and only live in fresh water for a few weeks, after which they either swim back to the ocean or die. So all the characters in the film had to do was to wait for this to happen!

It’s perhaps unfortunate that I have some small knowledge of sharks, but I reckon anyone would realise how daft it is for a twelve foot creature to keep on eating whole people constantly!  Of course such silliness doesn’t matter too much if the film is loads of fun: the ludicrous but highly entertaining Deep Blue Sea comes to find. Sadly, despite a decent panic scene near the beginning when the shark enters a crowded bay and a girl has her friend eaten, Red Water is pretty pedestrian. Lou Diamond Phillips and Kristy Swanson are not too bad, but struggle with some seriously poor dialogue. They’re the usual ex-couple who find themselves on the same expedition, while the script throws in a band of crooks who have their own reasons for going to the same place. The film wastes time with a stay in a local village where the locals consider the shark to be a spirit that protects the area against environmental damage, and doesn’t even do much when the baddies take over the rig and hold the others hostage. Eventually, around the hour mark, things suddenly get lively with some reasonable fighting, explosions [look out for a hilariously unconvincing CG underwater one] and lots of shark action. Which is almost enough to save the day. Almost.

Some of the shark peril sequences do excite: there’s a great one mixing tension with just a touch of humour where John is in the water with the shark and is told to keep still before he realises it’s not working and swims for it, though the most memorable bit has the shark jump out of the water at the people above, fallback into the water, then the shark’s tail emerging from the sea to whack somebody, seemingly meaning that the shark has jumped out of the water upside-down. The direction by Charles Robert Carner is rudimentary and the film looks really shabby throughout, often looking as if it was filmed with the cheapest camcorder. Coolio, playing the archetypal gangster rapper villain, seems to be having fun sending up that image and livens up some of the dull stretches by just being rude to everybody. Red Water has its fun elements, to be sure – it just doesn’t really have enough of them. Undemanding shark movie fans may just about find it worthwhile. Me, I just can’t get certain things out of my head, such as, if a man has his foot in a shark’s mouth and is pulled free, how on earth does he not lose all or some of his foot and just end up with one shark’s tooth stuck in his it?

Rating: ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆

Avatar photo
About Dr Lenera 1971 Articles
I'm a huge film fan and will watch pretty much any type of film, from Martial Arts to Westerns, from Romances [though I don't really like Romcoms!]] to Historical Epics. Though I most certainly 'have a life', I tend to go to the cinema twice a week! However,ever since I was a kid, sneaking downstairs when my parents had gone to bed to watch old Universal and Hammer horror movies, I've always been especially fascinated by horror, and though I enjoy all types of horror films, those Golden Oldies with people like Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee probably remain my favourites. That's not to say I don't enjoy a bit of blood and gore every now and again though, and am also a huge fan of Italian horror, I just love the style.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.