FilmReview

Something in the Water review: A mercifully short attempt at Bridget Jones with sharks

Huge sections are taken up with the characters gossiping in viscera-thick water as they might while queuing for the bathroom at the pub

Something in the Water is in cinemas from Friday, June 21st
Something in the Water
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Director: Hayley Easton Street
Cert: 15A
Starring: Lauren Lyle, Hiftu Quasem, Nicole Rieko Setsuko, Ellouise Shakespeare-Hart
Running Time: 1 hr 26 mins

Imagine yourself the sort of person who finances movies. Someone approaches you with the four-word pitch “Bridget Jones with sharks!” You wouldn’t throw them straight out of the office. Right?

Something in the Water (good title, to be fair) doesn’t entirely betray the promise I have just made up. Five women visit an exotic location for the most annoying of their number’s wedding. On a maritime hen jaunt, they end up floating amid a shiver of sharks while one leaks blood into the water. Well, that sounds more fun and more plausible than the Thai prison scene in Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason. Let us give it that.

Unfortunately the characterisation is so thin and the dialogue so clunky that the thing plays more like one of those 1960s surf horrors – Cannibal Martians at Wipeout Cove – that invited drive-in audiences to speculate about which beach denizen deserved to get eaten first (usually a hard question to answer). Even those exploitations were more fun than this. Huge sections of a mercifully short film are taken up with the characters gossiping in viscera-thick water as they might while queuing for the bathroom at Wetherspoons. There’s just too much floatin’ and not enough crunchin’. Call it The Daft of the Medusa.

It starts well enough. Meg (Hiftu Quasem) is the victim of a homophobic attack in London that leaves her traumatised and causes her to blame soon-to-be ex-girlfriend Kayla (Natalie Mitson). When she turns up at the tropical resort for the marriage of Lizzie (Lauren Lyle), she is surprised to be greeted by an equally uncomfortable Kayla.

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Quasem and Lyle, playing characters struggling to reconnect, are good value in those opening skirmishes – the basis for a much better film – but are soon swallowed up by broad variations on mildewed ladette cliches. I am as fond of Reach by S Club 7 as the next idiot, but the singalong version here has little purpose other than to eat up minutes that could more usefully have been employed serving bits of the cast to aquatic carnivores.

This is a difficult genre to get right. Even successful adrift-against-the-shark dramas such as The Shallows and Open Water had their longueurs. But nothing can excuse the coarseness of the foreshadowing. “I’m getting married. I’m not dying!” Lizzie laughs early on. We’ll see about that.

Something in the Water is in cinemas from Friday, June 21st

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke, a contributor to The Irish Times, is Chief Film Correspondent and a regular columnist