One of the great things about October is that, along with Shark Week, it’s one of the few times during the year that the SyFy channel still shows original horror films. Unfortunately, I ended up getting a little bit swamped with stuff this month so I didn’t get a chance to review this year’s collection of movies when they originally aired. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make up for that today and tomorrow.
Dead In The Water, which aired on October 27th, 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, it’s essentially a siege film in which we watch the film’s cast 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 kill themselves. 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 storms 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 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. All in all, Dead In The Water was an effective October offering.