Lady in the Water

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Bottom Line: From the director of The Sixth Sense comes a massive slap in the face.

Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Jeffrey Wright, Paul Giamatti

Unforgivably weird mystery-thriller centered on character Cleveland (Paul Giamatti, who sets the unrealistic record for the longest time to stay underwater without scuba gear), the heavily stuttering superintendent for an apartment building called The Cove. He becomes irritated by the nightly presence of a woman swimming in the pool and decides to investigate. When he decides to do so, he nearly drowns but is saved by this night swimmer, who introduces herself as Story (Bryce Dallas Howard). After noticing her unusual fear of a dog-like animal that only visits when she is around, he consults with an Asian college student residing in the building. He discovers that she is a “narf,” or a sea nymph, as in a bedtime story the college student was always told as a young child.

All I keep hearing about director M. Night Shyamalan is that he was phenomenal with his debut, THE SIXTH SENSE, but after that his films began to plunge down an endless slope. I loved THE SIXTH SENSE so much that I couldn’t bring myself to believe it. It’s one of those times when seeing actually is believing. I fully agree with that statement I’ve heard all too many times after seeing LADY IN THE WATER, a total disaster.

The first problem with LADY IN THE WATER is the script. It’s hard to tell if this was intended to be funny, but I laughed very hard in some parts. Let me give you an example of one of the worst scenes. It’s when one of the characters is faced with the dog-like creature. The character is a film critic (is that Shyamalan trying to earn some critical respect?), and he states that it’s like a moment out of a horror movie. (Seriously, are you M. Night Shyamalan or Mel Brooks?) He rambles on and on about how it’s the moment when the side character is about to be attacked, and that he’s going to run through the door behind him and the dog will barely miss him. He has rambled on so much that not only is it incredibly predictable when the dog slaughters him, it’s excruciatingly funny.

I’m giving LADY IN THE WATER a passing grade (well, sort of) because I was entertained. There are some films that are so bad that they’re good, and in modern times, this may just be the perfect example. But with the poor acting, awful script, muddled plot, and abundant clichés, it fails in the grand scheme of things.

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9 thoughts on “Lady in the Water

  1. I saw this a long time ago so I don’t remember exactly how I felt, but I guess it was bad. The worst Shyamalan film I’ve seen has got to be The Happening, though. Also, and I know I’m in the minority here, I don’t think The 6th Sense is all that special. My favorite M. Night film is The Village. I don’t know why so many people hate it. Granted, I watched it many years ago. Maybe I need to revisit it.

  2. “The first problem with LADY IN THE WATER is the script. It’s hard to tell if this was intended to be funny, but I laughed very hard in some parts.”

    I think that applies to all Shyamalan movies since Sixth Sense
    I hated this movie so much

    • Some people, for whatever reason seemed to like this movie. I watched it because I heard its his next to worst (with The Last Airbender being numero uno and I have no desire to see it). I’ve heard The Village, Unbreakable, and Signs are okay, so I plan on seeing those.

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