Blind Waters (2023)

Rating: C

Dir: Anthony C. Ferrante
Star: Meghan Carrasquillo, Noam Sigler, Francisco Angelini, Jhey Castles

Ferrante’s shot at making a shark movie without any meteorological shenanigans is a bit of a mixed bag. It begins well enough, giving us two people, in Valentina Armas (Carrasquillo) and Weston Dern (Sigler), who are not actively unpleasant to be with. This is rarer than you’d expect, the genre largely being populated with college assholes. Valentina and Weston appear actually to care for each other, to the extent he is intending to propose to her underwater, on their scuba-diving trip while on holiday in Mexico. You will not be surprised to learn, a shark has other plans, and they are soon trapped on top of their upturned boat (above). He has a nasty leg wound; she suffered a blow to the head, severely affecting her vision. 

I must admit, given the title, I was expecting an actual blind person. But I guess, Legally Blind Waters, Blurry Waters or Partially Sighted Waters might not have sold as well. The shark isn’t the only problem faced by our loving couple. After dragging themselves to a nearby island, they meet Gabe (Angelini), whose craft perhaps offers a way of escape. Or perhaps not. For the audience knows, and they initially do not, that Gabe is a boat thief and killer. He has no intention of waiting around to be rescued by the local Coast Guard, with all their awkward questions. Valentina and Weston might have been safer, when they were bleeding and in the water.

It almost feels like these are two different movies, and they spend their time fighting for dominance, rather than meshing smoothly. It could be described as something of a cross between Open Water and Wait Until Dark. If you have difficulty getting your brain around that combo, you are not the only person. The human threat fares better, in that Gabe isn’t ropey CGI – a fate suffered rather too often by the shark. However, the main issue is perhaps too many holes in the script. Why does the shark capsize the boat, then hardly bother to follow up? The stupid family who all contrive to fall in the sea and get eaten. Gabe’s escape on a little raft. Tides that can potentially cover an island at least a hundred feet high.

And don’t even get me started on the couple’s rope-wrangling skills. I’ll say no more than this: you can pull a rope from both ends, y’know… There are some decent moments of threat, and a genuine sense that people may die. I did like the finale, where the shark and Gabe, both imperil Valentina and her blurred view of the world. She still proves entirely capable of defending herself though, albeit not quite going Zatoichi on its fishy ass. This is probably not a film, I’ll bother to rewatch; there isn’t enough here to make it stand out. However, I was never bored – just occasionally irritated – and in the shark genre, that’s all I can reasonably hope for.