Red Water (2003)

Sony Pictures Television.  Director: Charles Robert.

Creature Feature Bleachers Award: Oddly Hilarious Shark Attacks.

Let’s face it: at this point, you’re not even reading my reviews anymore.  You just hop onto this blog and chuckle at the fact that I’m able to find a new sharksploitation film every week.  Well, no worries; I feel the same way.  I started this blog with the belief that each sharksploitation film has its own defining characteristics, that a person shouldn’t just lump all of the films together.  “Red Water” has almost pushed me to the point of defeat in that regard.  Many of its elements have been reused in other films over the past decade, to the point that “Red Water” has little flavor of its own.  We’ve had a Louisiana setting before (“Shark Night 3D”), we’ve had Kristy Swanson before (“Swamp Sharks”), and we’ve even had someone whose psychological scars prevent them from doing what they’re best at (“Dark Water”).  “Red Water” doesn’t have very much to call its own.  My honest suggestion is to skip it and watch “Swamp Sharks” instead, since that film has a surprising amount of heart.

Ever since an oil rig blowout occurred on his watch, John Sanders (Lou Diamond Phillips) has punished himself by pursuing an unsuccessful life as a fisherman.  With the bank threatening to take his boat, however, he decides to take up his ex-wife Kelli’s (Kristy Swanson) offer to help out on a new oil rig being built in the middle of a Louisiana river.  At the same time, thugs are searching the area for buried treasure.  When the two groups meet, things get dangerous, but not as dangerous as that bull shark!

The DVD Cover

Perhaps I’ve been too hard on “Red Water.”  It does, after all, contain one of my favorite explanations for the origin of the central shark.  The Cajun characters in the film believe that a local spirit has taken the form of a shark in order to protect the area from the ecological devastation of the oil rig.  But we in the audience don’t put much stock in that sort of superstitious balderdash, do we?  No, the film offers a much more scientific and logical explanation for our educated minds.  As the cinematography would seem to suggest, the shark was in fact birthed— fully-grown— by a large underwater explosion.

Boom!

Shark!

Makes perfect sense!

This film is also memorable for the incomprehensibility of its characters.  “Red Water” has its share of swamp hillbillies and Cajun hillbillies, as any good Louisiana-based sharksploitation movie should, but we also get some jive-talking gangstas for good measure.  I’m not saying that their criminal lingo is gibberish or anything, but at certain points in the film you can only understand prepositions and articles.  The nonsensical similes and metaphors lend a sort of noir-ish air to the film, but not in a mysterious or sophisticated way.

At this point in my sharksploitation journey, the words “science” and “expert” automatically cause me to burst out in laughter.  I also love that it’s a Sony TV.

Remind me to stay away from Kristy Swanson’s agent.  Giving someone two shark films in less than ten years is just plain cruel.  True, Brooke Hogan and Corin Nemec each had two awful sharksploitation films, but at least they both got to be scientists in one of their films.  Swanson always plays the lonely blonde career woman who must take to the waterways of Louisiana to fight a single shark released by the greed of men.  Talk about specific typecasting!  (Although I’m still waiting for someone to break the two-sharksploitation-film record…)

One of Discovery Channel’s lesser-known subsidiaries.

Well, there don’t appear to be any trailers of “Red Water,” so you’ll have to make due with a trailer for the Australian crocodilsploitation film “Black Water”:

“Red Water” is available on Amazon.

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