Blood in the Water (2022)

Rating: D+

Dir: Dominic Nutter
Star: Hannah Ponting, Brendan Jones, Jamie Robertson, Amanda-Jade Tyler

For the second in what is rapidly becoming Shitty Shark Movie Week 2024, we have one which has an utterly insane concept, then manages to piss away all the potential in it, by becoming thoroughly tedious. Save for some expository flashbacks, the whole thing takes place near an indoor pool. A selection of characters regaining consciousness to find themselves chained on the edge of the water. Every so often, one of them will get winched into the water. A voice over a loudspeaker tells them they need to come clean about their past crimes, or suffer the consequences. Oh, and in case you were wondering, there’s a freaking shark which pops into the swimming pool to eat whoever is pulled into it.

This is awesome. I have so many questions. Is the shark chlorine resistant? How good a pool filtration system is needed to extract all the leftover gobbets of human flesh, not to mention all the spilled blood? Does it eat people on command? How did the perpetrators get it in there? Order it up on UberEats? Because its presence makes the one from Under Paris seem plausible. Sadly, none of these issues are adequately addressed. Instead, this is too busy trying to live up to its tagline, of “Saw meets Jaws“. The further we go, the more blatantly obvious it becomes, that there is no hope of either half of those expectations being met. A more accurate slogan would be “Spiral meets Jaws: The Revenge“. Those are still likely better.

There are only two characters of note here. Zara (Ponting), whom we first meet as she’s abducted from her flat, and Cody (Jones), a police officer whose motivations are just as suspect as his accent. Seriously, does this take place in Britain or America? Going by Cody’s drawl, it might as well be in Alabama, and neither swimming pools nor man-eating sharks are exactly common in the United Kingdom. On the other hand, nobody else seems to be trying as hard as Cody to sound American, and the use in the dialogue of words like “flat”, rather than “apartment”, strongly suggest a British location. It’s probably located just up the road from wherever it was that Hellraiser happened.

The big difference from Saw is that this lacks any real sense of escalation or invention, plodding on as the characters slowly figure out their mutual connection and what they did to get here. Guess what? Nobody cares. And the only similarity to Jaws, is that both film have a shark that eats people, though Blood manages to do it in a way almost remarkable for a spectacular lack of tension. Naturally, there’s a twist in the final act, though the jury is out on whether or not it makes a great deal of sense. Coming to a definite conclusion would likely require a) paying attention throughout, and b) a re-watch. I suspect neither of these are very likely for the majority of viewers.