Something In The Water (2024)

Director: Hayley Easton Street

Running Time: 86 Minutes

Certification: 15

Starring: Hiftu Quasem, Lauren Lyle, Natalie Mitson, Nicole Rieko Setsuko, Ellouise Shakespeare-Hart, Gabriel Prevost

It can be difficult for killer shark movies to escape the looming specter of Jaws. Much like The Exorcist did for exorcism movies, Steven Spielberg's classic kickstarted a cinematic trend while also providing a high watermark that following films in the sub-genre paled in comparison to. That is unfortunately no different for Something In The Water, Hayley Easton Street's feature directorial debut that is less Jaws and more toothless.

In a surprising move, the film opens with young couple Meg (Hiftu Quasem) and Kayla (Natalie Mitson) having their future plans shattered by a brutal homophobic attack. After a one-year time jump, the now-separated couple find themselves crossing paths at a mutual friend's wedding. Reunited within their friendship group, five girlfriends rent a boat to spend a day on a secluded island. Their plans to enjoy the sun and sea are thrown into turmoil when the friends are stranded in open water, with sharks circling in close proximity.

For most of the short runtime, the story follows the central five characters reunited for this celebratory event. This should be the basis for effective character building and development, while the life-threatening turn shatters their bonds as tensions rise and lives are lost. Instead, the film feels like it is treading water as Cat Clarke's lacking script offers little to latch onto the characters. It becomes more difficult as matters turn perilous, with these one-note figures devolving into snarky quips and becoming vessels for amdram acting.

The most saddening thing is how uncinematic this tale feels, instead resembling an extra-long episode of Hollyoaks with difficult to comprehend night-time scenes. It is also unfortunate how there are very few appearances by sharks, with their presence being barely felt due to the tension-free proceedings. By the time credits rolled for Something In The Water, it became clear that the only thing in the water was this floater of a film.

Something In The Water is now available in UK cinemas