Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water... Imagine a world where 1999’s agreeable Lake Placid didn’t exist and neither did any of its ropey SyFy Channel sequels. Perhaps even cheesy straight-to-DVD howlers like RoboCroc and DinoCroc and Megashark Vs Crocosaurus have never been made. What a world that would be. But even in this parallel Universe, the execrable Freshwater would be entirely unacceptable. Here’s a movie which is, astonishingly, totally bereft of anything remotely resembling an intelligent (or intelligible) plot, halfway decent acting or convincing special effects.
It’s the usual tired old story. A bunch of vacuous hormonal teens decide to indulge in some swimming-related larking about on a remote lake house island. Two of them are dragged underwater by something nasty – it’s a giant white alligator! The rest trap themselves in the house screaming and running about like idiotic headless chickens. Meanwhile, local gator expert Brenda Gray (a pitiful performance from Zoe Bell) is investigating reports of unusual alligator activity, but even she can’t begin to imagine the peculiar creature which is lurking in the lake and prowling through the woods. To her credit, she doesn’t burst out laughing when she finally sets eyes on it, which is a damned sight more than the audience are likely to do. The film’s monstrous predator looks as if it’s been drawn onto the film in pencil by an inattentive child; not once does this pathetic creature look remotely connected to what we might generously describe as the film’s live-action footage. A woeful, inane script, desperate and aimless performances, atrocious editing and a musical score which sounds like it’s being performed by a kitten running up and down a piano keyboard add to Freshwater’s catastrophic collection of ineptitude. The storyline is a meandering mess, no-one behaves with any logic or sense of reality and the last-minute twist is utterly witless even within the film’s own jaw-dropping irrationality.
New Zealand-born Tarantino favourite Bell is an accomplished stunt performer, but to describe her acting range as limited is to stretch the meaning of the word way beyond breaking point. But then she’s in good company here where her fellow performers are all universally dreadful, with only Tom O’Connell as CSI Agent Sam Colton managing to deliver anything even remotely competent. A genuinely terrible movie, Freshwater is an experience best forgotten, expunged from the memory the moment it’s over. Let’s speak of it no more and try to get on with our lives. Avoid this one like a plague of giant white alligators.
FRESHWATER / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: BRANDEIS BERRY / STARRING: JOE LANDO, ZOE BELL, ALISON HAISLIP, AMY PAFFRATH, TOM O’CONNELL / RELEASE DATE: JUNE 6TH