Released: 18th March
Seen: 1st April
The name Adrian Lynne might not be one of the most well-known directors but his impact on the film industry is undeniable. Adrian Lynne was the director of such films as 9 ½ Weeks, Indecent Proposal and Fatal Attraction, three of the biggest erotic drama/thrillers of the late 80s and early 90s. This was the period of film history when making sexy adult dramas was big business.
Adrian Lynne was arguably one of the biggest elements of that with his stylish sexy thrill rides that delighted audiences with their combination of titillation and genuinely fascinating stories. Fatal Attraction specifically is still considered one of the greats of the genre, arguably one of the greatest films of the 80s as a whole. After a 20 year gap, Adrian is back with his newest film Deep Water, an adaptation of the 1957 novel of the same name and maybe it’s the material, but the master is off his game today.
Deep Water follows the Van Allen family. Vic (Ben Affleck) is a retired robotics engineer who uses the money he made by building chips that are used in drones intended for warfare to support his family and raise a small family of snails. His wife Melinda (Ana De Armas) is a free-spirited woman who mostly takes care of their daughter Trixie (Grace Jenkins) and tries to get Vic to loosen up and have more fun.
Vic and Melinda’s marriage is a little strained but they have come to something of an arrangement, namely that Melinda gets to take any lovers that she chooses and Vic and her can avoid a potentially messy divorce. Not sure what Vic gets out of this deal other than a hot wife who will occasionally give him a half-hearted handjob… but hey, it apparently works for them.
Except maybe it doesn’t actually work for them because it turns out that all of the men in Melinda’s life keep vanishing mysteriously and it seems like they might all be being murdered by Vic who acts super suspicious the entire time. Clearly, this is a huge deal that will lead to a grand terrifying story full of sex and violence and all kinds of shocking things… or it can just be the story about how a cuckold doesn’t actually like being cuckolded and reacts to it poorly while non-characters walk about in suits, one of those options.
The problem with Deep Water is surprisingly simple… it plays its cards so early and so bluntly that all potential suspense is sucked out of the room. The very thing that could give this film any suspense at all, the identity of the killer, is revealed bluntly to the audience within 15 minutes of Deep Water starting which leaves us with over an hour and a half of a bland unsexy thriller that never lives up to its full potential.
You never really wonder who is doing everything, you never really wonder if they’re going to get caught (hell at times it feels like the entire town actually knows that one of our main characters is a murderer and they don’t care) and it never feels like this is going to in any way seriously impact the lives of anyone other than the people who end up dead… sure, the dead guys probably wish things turned out differently, but everyone else is moving on with their lives as though nothing happened at all.
Indeed nothing really does happen, Deep Water follows a structure that’s so rigid you’d think it was factory assembled. Melinda brings home a random generic-looking hunk, they flirt and do something that could be interpreted as sex but isn’t actually sexy, something happens to that generic-looking hunk, everyone kinda accuses Vic of being involved, Vic actually does have sex with Melinda and then we rinse and repeat until the finale.
There’s no interesting twist, no surprise third act reveal, nothing here’s that’s lascivious or playful or so over the top that you can’t help but enjoy it. Deep Water has a plan and it will execute that plan over and over again until the time limit is up at which point it will end exactly as it begin, nothing learned, nothing changing, no reason to really exist.
The sad part is that there’s so much actual potential here, the idea behind Deep Water is solid enough that just thinking over it for a moment you could almost see how this could be a sexy thrilling time. Even if you were to throw away the original book entirely and just take the structure of it you could create a fun voyeuristic tale that plays with notions of sex and toxic masculinity and the concept of modern open relationships and cuckoldry and all these intense topics that should make for a fun film… and somehow, nothing done with those ideas is even remotely entertaining.
Do you want to know what my favourite bit of trivia about Deep Water is? This movie was made by Entertainment One shortly after that company was bought by Hasbro meaning this is the first erotic thriller ever made by Hasbro. This explains a lot because like a lot of things made by Hasbro, Deep Water is lifeless, sexless, thrill-less and pointless with a whole bunch of pale-faced expressionless people who appear to be made mostly out of plastic.
I have hope that maybe Adrian Lynne was just using Deep Water to see if he still had it in him to direct and can now work on making something good again, because considering this is from the director who made the phrase “Bunny boiler” into something that strikes fear in the hearts of men it’s sad that this film is just a whole lot of nothing.