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By Steve Anderson | July 14, 2004

Gather around, kiddies…it’s STORY TIME!

Once upon a time there was a poor desperate executive at New Line Productions. Let’s call him Fenwick, because it sounds really pathetic.

Pathetic like Fenwick’s career.

Fenwick was about to lose his job, and every other executive was really really angry. Fenwick hadn’t had a good idea for a movie in years. Fenwick needed a movie that would make some money, and quick. So Fenwick thought and thought.

He went to the video store and looked around, hoping to find an idea. All he could find over on those shelves were movies like Jaws, Jaws 2, Jaws 3-D, and Deep Blue Sea.

He went home and watched the Discovery Channel, hoping for an idea. He watched every episode of Shark Week until his eyes grew red and tired.

Finally he just whomped together a script for YET. ANOTHER. SHARK. MOVIE.

And this is how Red Water was born.

I saw the FBI release notice…you know, that annoying one about how you can’t copy movies? Someone ought to tell New Line that this movie has already been done.

And we start right off with a bang…a grandpa – grandson team is out for a fishing expedition, and they run afoul of an oil well in the middle of their beloved fishing hole. Afoul as in the “suddenly on top of one of their seismic charges designed for excavation.”

As our dynamic fishing duo sets off away from the explosions, another goes off, and out from the cloud swims our brand new sharkly villain.

Oh, yeah…I forgot to mention. This all takes place in the middle of a large lake in Louisiana, Lake Varret. Yeah. You heard me right.


I can’t even begin to contemplate what’s wrong with that.

And now, we have our hero emerge: Lou Diamond Phillips as the heroic charter fishing boat captain, out to save his fishing boat. I wonder…what WILL he be fishing for by the end?

But we’ve got something more pressing to deal with right now. In a side plot that no one really is sure just why it’s there, a truly stereotypical gangster with a Jamaican accent thicker than Captain Morgan with a cement mixer is calling our fisherman to find a stolen stash of his ill-gotten loot.

Eventually, the fisherman and the criminals’ paths collide, forming a thick, multi-plotted moulange. The oil well builds in pressure until finally, it explodes. One of the resident oil well personnel goes underwater to fix it and cuts his hand. Well…we all know what THAT’S gonna do, right??

And the criminals take redneck to a whole new levels…fishing for sharks with dynamite. The criminals, believing the shark finally dead, send down their newfound hostages, namely our fisherman and his crew. They begin a new search for the criminals’ lost fortune.

And of course the shark is STILL not dead. Anyone else not surprised? I’m not surprised. Anyone surprised? At all? An explosive ending sets us up for a big finish, with criminals and fisherfolk alike attempting to escape burning boats. The last great climax involves a big shark taking a bigger oil drill to its big teeth.

The results are not what one would call pleasant.

Or appetizing.

And finally, we have a nice quiet denouement featuring a lot of dithering on about “spirits of the swamp.” Not to mention a little pseudo – Morality Play about the fisherman considering whether or not to take the reward money placed on the now – dead shark’s head. Or rather, tooth, because that’s all that’s left of Jaws—um, I mean, of course, the BULL SHARK.

Subtitles abound. We have all the standards…English, Spanish, French, and Japanese. We also for some reason have many many others.
Portuguese, for example. How about Chinese? Korean? Thai? I don’t
know just what’s with all the subtitles but Lord, there are PLENTY.

Trailers, too. We have Bats, The Big Hit, and something called “Ride or Die.” The first two truly perplex me…Bats and The Big Hit have already been released in theatres and on video, and have been since 1999. Why on EARTH are these two relics being trailered on a NEW RELEASE DVD??

Kind of a nice bit of irony at the end…a park ranger gives an impromptu environmentalist harangue on a bridge overlooking the lake, whereupon she is eaten by the shark.

And so, this is the predictable, yet not too unpalatable, release of Red Water. It never made it to theatres…I think it might have been a TV movie, actually. At the end of the credits, we get a quick shot of the New Line Television logo, so that really suggests where this was BEFORE we got it on our video store shelves. And that’s really kinda sad when you think about it…this is just recycled TV movie. Look at the cast; this was never supposed to be big. Lou Diamond Phillips. Kristy Swanson. COOLIO, for crying out loud. Red Water is just another bland place filler in an already glutted market.

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